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Key documents


The Regulations

The Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016 deal with the provision of adventure activities. They set out the process for becoming registered as an adventure activity operator and make it an offence for unregistered operators to offer adventure activities to participants.

These regulations revoke and replace the Health and Safety in Employment (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011. Only minimal changes were made to align terminology and concepts with the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and to add a new offence of offering adventure activities while unregistered.

The regulations cover many paid adventure activities, although activities run by sports clubs and schools are excluded from the regulations in most circumstances, as are events run by sports clubs or recreation clubs, or associations representing sports clubs or recreation clubs for the purposes of competition. They also do not apply to operators who provide activities that are not taught or guided.

Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016


Safety audit standard

A safety audit standard for adventure activities specifies the requirements that adventure activity operators must comply with to reduce risks when providing adventure activities.

WorkSafe NZ has developed and published the following safety audit standard for adventure activities:


This Standard updates and replaces the Safety Audit Standard for Adventure Activities, dated March 2013, published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The updates include consequential changes resulting from the creation of WorkSafe New Zealand in 2013, the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and the Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016. This version also clarifies the names of different technical roles supporting the operator and the audit team.

The update was carried out in consultation with industry bodies, audit providers and selected expert individuals.


The New Zealand adventure activities certification scheme

The New Zealand Adventure Activities Certification Scheme (the scheme) is being developed in conjunction with the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ). The scheme will set out requirements for how certification bodies will plan and conduct audits, as well as placing contractual obligations on adventure activity operators.

After the scheme is launched, WorkSafe NZ will expect certification bodies to be accredited to the scheme by JAS-ANZ and to maintain their accreditation.  Accreditation is a condition of recognition as a certification body.

The draft Scheme is currently being considered by the Technical Advisory Committee appointed by the JAS-ANZ governing body.


The Adventure Activities Review, 2009/10

The Prime Minister initiated a review of risk management and safety in the adventure and outdoor commercial sectors in September 2009. The review looked at the existing regulations, safety systems and processes in the sector, and at any ways of improving risk management and safety.


New Zealand Adventure Activity Certification Scheme performance study

This research examined the performance of the New Zealand Adventure Activity Certification Scheme (the Scheme) during its first three years in action. This is the period during which audit bodies were directly recognised by WorkSafe NZ, prior to accreditation by a specialist third party organisation.

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the current Scheme arrangements provide effective sector regulation for each of the ‘project deliverable’ topics described below. The research was conducted by reviewing audit reports, conducting interviews with sector managers at certified audit bodies and surveying adventure activity operators.

New Zealand Adventure Activity Certification Scheme performance study [PDF 1.3MB]

Last updated 31 March 2017


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On Monday 4 April 2016, the New Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) came into effect.

HSWA repeals the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, with immediate effect.

All references to the 1992 Act on this website and within our guidance will be progressively removed.