New rules for Queenstown adventure operators


Operators of three niche adventure sports have been issued with comprehensive new safety guidelines.

Canyoning, caving and indoor rock climbing are the latest activities to be covered by Adventure Safety Guidelines (ASG).

Investigations into accidents will consider how well the operator adhered to the guidelines.

ASGs are an outcome of the 2010 Government-led review of risk management and safety in New Zealand’s adventure and outdoor commercial sector.

Heli-skiing, quad-biking, high-wire crossing and abseiling – all run in Queenstown – will be the next activities given guidance.

“It’s critical that ‘adventure’ remains in adventure tourism,” Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) advocacy manager Geoff Ensor says.

“But we all have a responsibility to ensure that these experiences are being delivered within a strong safety framework.”

The TIA developed the guidelines with leading experts from each sector, with funding and support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

“These guidelines draw on the knowledge of recognised canyoning, caving and indoor rock climbing experts, and reflect international standards, but they also take account of the impacts New Zealand’s unique environment can have on each activity,” Ensor says.  

Outdoors New Zealand (ONZ) supported in the development of the ASGs.

ONZ boss Gareth Dawson says: “We encourage all operators to strive for continual improvement in all aspects of their activities.”