Here we explain what we mean by an 'adventure activity' so operators, the Registrar, and WorkSafe inspectors can determine if an operation is an adventure activity.
The Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016 (the Regulations) define ‘adventure activity’ in regulation 4(1)(a). The definition is made up of several elements that are not further defined in legislation.
A decision tree(external link) and a table of specific activities that are likely to be, might be, or are not likely to be adventure activities provide additional supporting information.
When is an operation an adventure activity?
An operation is an adventure activity when:
- it meets all the elements in regulation 4(1)(a) and isn’t excluded under regulation 4(2)-4(5).
This means the operator must obtain and pass a safety audit and seek registration.
An operation is not an adventure activity when:
- it meets none or some (but not all) elements, or
- it meets all the elements and is excluded under regulation 4(2)-4(5).
This means the operator doesn’t need to seek a safety audit and registration, but as a PCBU they’ll still have duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. For example, they must ensure that any equipment they provide is fit for purpose and safe for use, and people are aware of the risks associated with using it.
How we interpret the elements of ‘adventure activity’
Regulation 4(1)(a) defines ‘adventure activity’ as an activity:
- that is provided to a participant in return for payment; and
- that is land-based or water-based; and
- that involves the participant being guided, taught how, or assisted to participate in the activity; and
- the main purpose of which is the recreational or educational experience of the participant; and
- that is designed to deliberately expose a participant to a serious risk to his or her health and safety that must be managed by the provider of the activity; and
- in which:
- failure of the provider’s management systems (such as failure of operational procedures or failure to provide reliable equipment) is likely to result in a serious risk to the participant’s health and safety; or
- the participant is deliberately exposed to dangerous terrain or dangerous waters.
We interpret each of the key elements as follows:
|Element||What we mean by this element|
|Provided to a participant in return for payment||
A participant is any person who takes part in an operator’s activity and pays them to provide the activity to them.
The activity can be provided directly by the operator, or indirectly through a worker or any other person.
|Land-based||An activity that takes place in, on, or around any land in New Zealand. This includes both private-owned and public land.|
|Water-based1||An activity that takes place in, on, or around water. This includes the territorial sea of New Zealand, the internal waters of New Zealand, and all rivers and other inland waters of New Zealand.' This could include any part of a water-based activity that doesn’t occur in a boat or takes place in a boat not covered by a Maritime document.2|
|Guided, taught how, or assisted to participate||
‘Guided’ means participants are accompanied, directed, led, advised, trained, controlled, influenced, or supervised.
‘Taught how’ means participants are taught skills or activity management specific to the activity being provided.
‘Assisted’ means participants are given a level of help that makes the activity possible for them to complete.
This element is likely to be met if the participant:
Regulation 4(2)(b) excludes activities where equipment or infrastructure is provided but participants are primarily
|Recreational or educational||
Recreational activities are done for enjoyment, generally when the participant isn’t working. This may include competitive activities unless they are exclusively for professional athletes.
Educational activities are done for the purposes of teaching, training, and learning to improve knowledge and develop skills.3
|Designed to deliberately expose a participant to a serious risk to his or her health and safety that must be managed by the provider of the activity||
Dangerous terrain is land with features that are steep, slippery, or unstable; or land that is exposed to one or more significant natural hazards. This includes terrain that:
Dangerous waters are any body of water that is fast-moving, strong, contains obstacles or is isolated from assistance.
This includes significant hazards such as:
|Activities nearly certain to be subject to the regulations||Activities that might be subject to the regulations under certain circumstances||Activities nearly certain to NOT be subject to the regulations|
- Anyone carrying out water-based activities should also read our guidance Information for providers of maritime activities
- Defined in the preliminary provisions in the Maritime Transport Act 1994(external link)
Water-based activities where a Maritime document is required (usually if the activity takes place on a boat with a motor) are regulated by Maritime New Zealand.
- A registered school or tertiary education provider (as defined in section 10(1) of the Education and Training Act 2020) are excepted even though their main purpose is education.
Guidance for PCBUs
Information to help businesses involved with adventures understand and meet their duties relating to the Adventure Activities RegulationsRead more