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Operator Speak

This section is where operators write about their safety systems, particularly what is working well for them and why. They have included their contact details and are happy to be contacted by other operators.

A mix of organisations is represented here. Some are large businesses and others are owner-operated. See what organisations similar to yours are doing, then check out the others as there are many ideas that apply to all!

None of these operators would say they have all the answers, but they all support the principle of sharing safety ideas and learning within the adventure activity community.

This section will be refreshed regularly in order to share as many ideas and as much information as possible. If you would like to contribute to this forum please contact us.


AJ Hackett Bungy NZ

David Mitchell
Chief Executive
03 441 0267

Our Business

We operate at four different sites, 3 in the Queenstown area, Kawarau Bungy, Nevis Bungy & Swing, Ledge Bungy & Swing and the Auckland harbor Bridge Climb & Bungy. We have over 100 Crew and operate all year around in very changeable conditions. Safety, quality and customer experience are our guidelines 

The part of our system that we are particularly proud of is:

Safety is a primary part of our culture. Right from the start crew learn what it means to be part of a team, from buddy checks to sharing the load. We have been operating for over 20 years, and have refined systems to manage risk. The main strengths are two fold, almost contradictory;

One is we follow very rigid Standard Operating Procedures, there is no room for an individual to attempt something new, or just change a process. 
This is balanced however, by the second strength. We embrace innovation, continuous improvement and new ideas. We analyse suggestions & incidents to seek improvements, not just through any one individual, but in a team environment, this gets the benefit of the team’s experience, and has built a culture of buy in to the outcomes.

It works well for us because:

We allow team leaders on the ground to be sure of operational boundaries, to make the call, be confident we support them. The teams are balanced with a range of experience to balance skills learning and freshness.

Our culture of reporting abnormal occurrences, for the better of all concerned, ensures we are always learning and the crew feel proud and professional about the products they deliver.


BlackCat Cruises

Paul Bingham, Managing Director
Cell: 027 495 1110
Ph:  03 384 0683 

Our Business

We operate cruises in Lyttelton and Akaroa. The main adventure product is our swimming with dolphins cruise. We have up to 50 staff in the high season. 

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

Safety for us is about looking into the future and trying to assess what might happen that would compromise customer and staff safety. Then its working backwards to put into place systems that do everything possible to prevent an incident. We've involved the whole swimming team and used our 26 years experience in writing a list of possible incident scenarios and then matching that list with our safety systems. For example we take many swimmers out who do not speak English as their first language. Systems are in place to ensure those people are briefed correctly. In another example we have easy read emergency procedures available on all vessels which contain a quick check list of what to do in an emergency.

It works well for us because:

Our systems have been summarised so they are easily readable and understandable at a glance. They need to be simple so the team will refer to them on an on going basis.

Encounter Kaikoura

Ian Bradshaw, Operations Manager
96 Esplanade
Ph: 0274319983

Our Business:

My name is Ian Bradshaw, I am a partner in Encounter Kaikoura. We employ 50 staff and our business comprises dolphin swimming tours, albatross tours, an onsite café and a retail store.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

Instilling the Health and Safety culture into our work place in an inclusive and interactive way.

It works well for us because:

I believe it is vital that for any Health and Safety system to work well, a company must have its employees on board.

Employees who know their jobs well and are clear on competencies required, are our single most valuable huge asset in assisting with the implementation and the continual operating of our H/S plan.  From training new employees at induction, through to hazard identification and finding solutions which lead to best practice throughout the business; these are the outcomes which test the effectiveness of our plan and recognize that the H & S management within the business is ongoing and a continually evolving area of our safety minded business.

Things that help achieve a good safety culture in our work place:

Communication is the most important aspect to ensure the effective delivery of our H & S objectives.  We do this by:

  • Including  H & S as an agenda item in all team meetings and also make it a key point in all company newsletters,
  • Regular updates on notice boards.
  • Holding regular dedicated H & S meetings.
  • Inviting Employee participation.
  • Regularly update the H & S plan.
  • Actioning control recommendations from hazard identification and incident reports a.s.a.p

The result is a plan that is up to date which everyone understands, and a work place that is as safe as possible at any given time.

Farewell Spit Eco Tours

Paddy Gillooly, Manager
Ph: 03 5248257

Our Business

We have a very stable team 3-5 all year and up to another 6 at very busy times. We operate nature tours on Farewell Spit at the top of the South Island. We run 5 4x4 buses and can carry up to 100 people per day.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

One of the things that works best for us and our clients is our combination boarding pass /safety terms and declaration sheet and medical/health details request form. 

It works well for us because:

Because most people arrive in a short time frame close to departure time there can be confusion as to which vehicle to board.

The vehicles all have names and the boarding passes are colour coded for each bus. The declaration and request are printed on opposite sides of the pass. When the driver boards he or she will collect the passes, count them and check the colour. Anyone on the wrong bus is easily identified and we know that everyone has had the opportunity to read the safety terms and exclusions.

Fat Tyre Adventures

Greg McIntyre, Owner
Ph: 0272262822

Our Business

Hi, my name is Greg McIntyre (Fat tyre Greg) and I am the Owner of FatTyre Adventures based in the Queenstown area offering guided back country mountain biking, accessed by either 4x4 or Helicopter. We operate on DoC and private land within about a 100km drive covering 5 mountain ranges and about 400km of trails with 7 different landing points and 12 ride options from them. We also offer a few longer trips within the South Island. We have 3-5 part time staff and one full time working from October to May. Fat tyre is branching out to the ‘softer cycling tourist’ market offering cycle tours in the vineyard of the Gibbston valley close to Arrowtown, Cycle de Vine. Two part time staff will run Cycle de Vine.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

The best part of my safety plan is its flexibility. I consider it a working document that I revisit and add to. Not changing the core of the document, as it has to be the back bone, but to add and improve on parts that need changing when put into practice.

‘A Risk sharing’ approach is key to the active adventure experience we offer. It is most important for us that we do not put all the risk responsibility on our guides. We set out most of the duty of care at the briefing, and then the continual sharing of that responsibility through the length of the trip. The way we establish the Risk share with the customers is important and that the customer acknowledges that they are riding their own bike, we don’t ride it for them and they have to continually make individual choices through the duration of the trip.

It works well for us because:

This approach helps the guide to guide and not be a baby sitter on one hand or a medic on the other if all goes wrong, they can do both but the perfect trip is if they do not have to do either. I think it also lets the individual customer ride at their own pace and not feel they are being herded but feel they have been for a ride with their mates at the end of the day. 

Franz Josef Glacier Guides

Gabe Wilkinson , Assistant Operations Manager
PO Box 41
Franz Josef Glacier, 7856
DDI: +64 3 752 02 57 
Cell: +64 021 24 24 079

Our Business

Franz Josef Glacier Guides is an internationally recognised guiding operation. Established in 1990; we pride ourselves on providing the most incredible glacier experience.  From the eco-valley walk , half day walk , full day hike and heli-hike options there is a trip to suit almost any ability. We employ 50 plus guides during the summer season and guide all year round on the Franz Josef Glacier. The steep , fast flowing glacial terrain , west coast weather and the large numbers of visitors we guide make for a challenging work environment where safety systems are paramount.

The part of our saftey system that we are particularly proud of is:

Medical disclosure / client briefing and hosting processes - We guide relatively high numbers of inexperienced clients from around the world in glacial terrain which can be challenging. We understand that all clients need to be fully informed about the activity they have chosen to undertake so as to be able to make the appropriate decisions when considering a trip. Our hosting systems have been developed so as to be able to offer a personalized appraisal of pre-existing medical conditions , fitness or answer questions in order to be able to maximize the safety and enjoyment our clients experience while out exploring the ice.

Operational morning meeting - Every morning all staff on duty gather for a 10 minute meeting. Topics covered are health and safety, daily weather conditions , ice conditions , track and trail changes , hazard identification , scheduling , rostering and changes to processes.

It works well for us because:

Medical disclosure / client briefing and hosting processes - This works well for our team because our system quickly identifies clients that may carry conditions or pre-existing injury’s and escalates them to our senior team. We then take a few moments to appraise the client’s needs one on one. This may mean a change in the type of trip in order to allow the client to be guided comfortably and safely.  We believe we are able to host large numbers of clients while retaining the ability to personalize the process as needed in order to make decisions that best meet their needs with them. Our belief is that client care begins at our guides’ base with communication and that we are reducing or eliminating potential medical issues, injury or accidents by employing our processes.

Operational morning meeting - Our daily morning meeting assists with mitigating hazards by keeping all staff informed of relevant operational information. We provide access to a “meeting journal” which is referred to on a daily basis in order to ensure that all staff can share information or ideas. Taking this time to meet face to face and discuss the setup of the day maximizes our ability to organize and respond effectively to issues like weather, glacier hazards, training and health and safety needs.

Living Springs

Jon Ward, Operations Manager
Ph: 03 329 9788
Cell: 027 538 3934

Our Business

Hi my name is Jon and I am the Operations Manager at Living Springs, we are based at 218 Bamfords Road, Allandale, RD1, Christchurch. We have 15-20 staff and have accommodation for up to about 200 people from motel units to camping. We operate all year round offering  Outdoor Education Programmes and Camps, Accommodation for  Functions and Events.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

I am particularly proud of our emergency response procedures and resources.

It works well for us because:

Given our location on Banks Peninsula, Living Springs have had  a lot of opportunities to practice and improve due to the many earthquakes we have had.

All staff know their roles and responsibilities and are so well practiced that everyone gets on with what needs to be done;

the Program Director ( AKA Chief Evacuation Officer) co-ordinates the clients to check they are all safe and accounted for, reassures them remains their main point of contact. He/she also ascertains any road/tunnel closures for any departures.

The Operations Manager and the Maintenance Managers check all the buildings and amenities for any damage. The Catering Manager prepares food to keep us all going.   

When the February 2011 earthquake hit we had 100 primary school students here and 20 corporate clients, it was windy and drizzly. In our emergency kit which is kept in a garage separate from our main buildings we had emergency blankets and ponchos which we handed out to everyone to protect them from the wind and the rain as we could not go back into the buildings for a few hours due to ongoing aftershocks. Half of the students were picked up by their parents and went home while the other half stayed the night. All of the out of town corporate clients (17) stayed marae style in a different area of the complex than where they were originally.

When the June earthquake hit we had 80 clients here from all over the country for a conference, once we had completed all our safety checks we were able to carry on with a slightly revised program.

Throughout this we have realised that we are self sustaining during a emergency, and have the following resources to ensure this.

We have 3 generators, our own water supply; a spring, our own sewerage system, emergency lighting ( lights that connect to the generator, battery operated lanterns with lots of spare batteries and glow sticks), tents and bed rolls & wool blankets for up to 100 people if we can’t access the buildings, lots of food, gas cooking, our own first aid supplies, UHF radios; when all the cell phone network jammed, and a battery operated AM/FM radio to listen to emergency broadcasts.

 Prior to September 2010, we would never have imagined that this level of resources would be necessary in Canterbury, however we now are well aware that the above resources mentioned are really the bare minimum required. All of New Zealand is on a fault line and a major event can occur anywhere at any time and we recommend you evaluate your workplace in light of this.

Ngai Tahu Abel Tasman Cluster (Aqua Taxi, Abel Tasman Kayaks, Kaiteriteri Kayaks)

Tom Bryant, Operations Manager
Cell: 021 869 394
Ph: 03 527 8617 ex6

Our Business

We operate in the Abel Tasman Year round with an obvious peak over the summer period. During this peak we employ 27 Kayak Guides, 17 Water taxi drivers, 5 support staff and 11 reservations staff. We operate guided kayaking, freedom rental of kayaks, a seal swim operation and a fleet of 12 water taxis.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

I am very proud of the safety culture that our firm has, this shows itself in the high level of incident reporting that we have.

It works well for us because:

There are a number of facets that have worked together to improve our safety culture:

  1. Team buy in – without this any shift in the safety culture of our organization would be ineffective and ultimately short lived.
  2. Walking the walk – this is a key element in our team buy in, if we say that safety and incident reporting is important BUT do not act on the safety concerns of our staff they will perceive that we are not really interested and will become disengaged
  3. No blame – We want our team to identify when things have almost gone wrong i.e.  ‘an incident,’ so we can track trends and ultimately improve our safety systems. To do this they need to know that there is no blame attached to reporting incidents (no matter how hard this may be for us as an owner or manager!) Removing this fear has allowed our team to work together to improve safety, rather than covering up our mistakes.
  4. Celebrate behavior – As identified in 3 we try not to place blame, instead we try to celebrate acceptable behavior (the use of PPE, correct reporting, people volunteering for the health and safety committee, etc) We look for ANY opportunity to do this.

Without a doubt initially it can be hard work engaging a team in new behavior. We have persevered and therefore our team has taken ownership of the safety culture and it has become self perpetuating. It is the ‘norm’ and as new staff come on stream they just accept that that’s how it is done in our organization.

NZ Adventures & On-Track 4WD

Malcolm Langley, Owner
Ph:03 768 4176

Our Business

Hi, my name is Malcolm Langley, Nancye and I are the Owners of NZ Adventures & On-Track 4WD. We employ 3 full time and 6 part time staff and operate summer seasons only from November to end April. Our main activity is guided 4WD tours across the South Island.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

I am particularly proud of our communications systems for both our “on tour” customer vehicle to vehicle and lead vehicle to the “outside world”.

It works well for us because:

It works well for us because we know when our customers have problems and can relay instructions to them while travelling. Our lead vehicle back to base comms via HF radio gives us voice contact wherever we are in the country as well as GPS location. We can also send and receive text messages to and from base over the HF radio. With the GPS positioning our office lady can see exactly where we are on Google aerial maps.

The flow charts we have developed for dealing with incidents and what steps to take in contacting base make the steps plain to all staff members.

Off Road NZ

Shane Cameron
193 Amoore Road
Rotorua 3072
Ph: 07 3325748

Our Business

Off Road NZ is situated approximately 15 km North of Rotorua on the top of the Mamaku plateau. We offer 3 core products; Raceline Karting, 4WD Bush Safari, and Monster 4x4 Thrill Ride along with a number of support products such as Claybird shooting, Archery and traditional type Team Build events. Off Road NZ has a team of between 12 and 15 staff members. We are an all weather, all year operation and take this into consideration when setting up product and in the equipment that we use and offer to our guests.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

We are particularly proud of our use of technology with our Raceline Karting product.

It works well for us because:

Our De Haardt speed controller allows the Race Controller to slow or stop all karts on the track at one time by a simple push of a button. This gives a greater degree of safety for Track Marshals when they have to assist a kart to get back on the track or for the times a kart has stopped in a position that could cause a collision. While on the track our marshals are in contact with each other via push to talk radios with ear pieces to ensure that they always hear. The De Haardt is a great back up to the Track Marshals and traditional flags as warning devices to ensure that all drivers are aware of the need to slow down in the cases mentioned.

Our timing system recognises each individual Kart and is linked to the workshop via a network. This lets any faults be noted against a specific kart as soon as they are seen which takes away a large proportion of human error in reporting. Each kart has to be signed onto the track as checked each morning. This cannot be completed with a ‘To do’ or fault on the system. The timing system also records hours run for each kart and when services, checks and major components have been replaced.

On Yer Bike!

Phillip Roper, Manager
03 7627438

Our Business

Hi, my name is Phillip Roper ( the one in the car) and I am the Manager of On yer bike Adventures. We employ 2-4 staff, we operate all year round. We provide a range of activities which include quad biking, go-karts, hagglund tours and even a miniature scale model village.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

We are most proud of our communication systems and hazard reporting systems.

It works well for us because:

We track all of our hazards and deal with them accordingly with simple and effective methods such as a whiteboard in the staffroom and keeping a cell phone/walkie-talkie on hand at all times. This works well for us because if one of our guides sees a hazard or risk they can simply write it up or report it to base so it can be dealt with before it becomes dangerous.  This also comes down to keeping our guides well trained and aware of potential hazards that can occur. 

Otago Polytechnic

Andy Thompson
Phone: 03 477 3014

Fax: 03 471 6870


Our Business

Hi, my name is Andy Thompson and I am the Programme Manager/Senior Lecturer for the Otago Polytechnic, Diploma in Outdoor Leadership & Management Level 5 Programme based from Dunedin. We employ 3 staff, many contractors and operate from an outdoor programme from February to November.We teach students personal, instructing and guiding skills in the following pursuits: white water kayaking, sea kayaking, mountaineering, rock climbing, alpine tramping, bush tramping.  These disciplines are balanced with practical and lecture session involving the development of critical thinking in leadership, sustainable issues, fitness and nutrition, adventure races, training for events, phycology, biomechanics and video analysis.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

The Structure and Content of our Safety Systems

We completed our Outdoors Mark in 2010 and we have not stopped developing our safety systems with our permanent and part time staff. Prior to this we had this, however having gone through another external audit it has been valuable to relook at what, where, how and why we do things.  Critical to any of our safety systems is staff engagement with the system.  This takes daily management and is continually being reviewed to improve.

We have three documents: 

  • Operations Plan that over arches the execution of the programme and links all parts of our safety aspects of our programme and consultancy work.
  • An instructors handbook that covers; vehicles, disciplines (operations, tailgates, teaching topics), emergency procedures
  • Appendixes that link to the operations plan and instructor handbook

What has been significantly useful is the instructor handbook.  I have spent a lot of time preparing this and consulting with different technically skilled people to ensure what is written represents the right message.  We have included certain teaching progressions so that we are also consistent with our standards and teaching methods for our students.

It works well for us because:

The instructors’ handbook allows me to give short term contractors/employees relevant information required to teach in the field.  They can read the relevant sections prior, thus short cutting long conversations and training from me to help them understand what we require.  As we employ NZOIA qualified instructors, we know they have already met certain requirements.  Once they fulfill our specific programme training we can move with confidence faster through an induction process and get them into the field.  All permanent staff can also assist other staff if I am not available.

The handbook is A5 sleeves, so it is easily updated and carried in the field.  It is held together with a ACCO 875 Fastener.

Pedal Tours

Richard Oddy, Director
Ph:09 585 1338 
Cell: 027 293 6096

Our Business

I, Richard, have been a keen cyclist for the last fifty two years and started Pedaltours in 1985.  We employ two office staff and four New Zealand based guides - most of our tours are now overseas.  We operate during the summer months.  Our main activity is Guided Bicycle Tours. We are based in Auckland and have depots and equipment in Christchurch, Hobart, HCMC and Delhi. 

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

I am proud of the high standard of our bicycles and the level of maintenance, the safety procedures established with input from all staff and customer feedback.  

It works well for us because:

Bicycles are subjected to a comprehensive checklist prior to use and further checks during the tour. Any work done on a bike during a tour is rechecked on return to base.  All bikes are numbered.  All staff are committed to service and safety.

Peel Forest Outdoor Centre

Andre Schoneveld, Director 
Geraldine, 7992
Ph: (03) 696 3832

Our Business

Hello, my name is Andre Schoneveld, and I'm the Director of Peel Forest Outdoor Centre.  We are an outdoor education centre base in the foothills of South Canterbury, which employs up to eight full time staff and a large number of part time and contract staff.  We operate year round, although our busiest season is from October to May.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

We are particularly proud of the layout and format of our Safety Management Plans, which we find is easy to update and amend, as well as for staff to find information that they require.

It works well for us because:

The layout of the plan brings together the generic information which applies to most of our  activities in one section.  It then seperates information for specific activities out into sub-documents.  This allows our staff to hone in on specific information for activities that they are running without getting swamped by surplus information.  It also makes it easy for us to update activity information, procedures or hazards without altering the majority of the document.  This means that indexes and tables of contents don't change with each amendment, so staff have confidence that they are able to access the information they need.  Additional activities can also be easily added or activities deleted without dramatically altering the document layout.

Shotover Canyon Swing

Matt Hollyer, General Manager
37 Shotover St
Ph: 03 442 5279 

Our Business 

Hi, my name is Matt Hollyer, I am the manager of Shotover Canyon Swing, Queenstown.  We operate 364 days per year - we employ 22 people year round, with another 2-3 staff employed for the summer period.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

The preparedness for possible operational scenarios for things that may go wrong.

It works well for us because:

The frequency of the practice, the thoroughness of this practice and also the attention to ongoing reflection on the effectiveness of the procedures results in the operations team being absolutely confident and competent at being able to deliver the right resolution to a scenario they may be faced with.

Splash and Dash

Mike Thomason & Evelyn Williamson
Ph: 021 847 088

Our Business 

We are Tomo and Evelyn and we run XTERRA Trail Runs in Wellington. We organize 4 trail runs in the bush and the hills around Wellington. We get a wide range of abilities entering our events, from experienced trail runners to people who have never stepped off the pavement.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is: 

I’m proud of the layout and structure of our safety manual. We wrote it in such a way that not only is it easy for an auditor to see what we are doing and satisfy the OutdoorsMark criteria, but the structure and layout matches how we run our events, which makes it easy to refer to and use on a daily basis.

It works well for us because: 

Every organisation and activity is made up of component parts, which can almost be thought of as stand alone pieces. You put all these things together, and you have your company, activity, or event. 

We looked long and hard at what we do and broke it up into those small independent parts, and addressed them individually in our Manual. Now if we or a staff member needs to do something we can put that activity together by simply adding the bits that make up that task or role. And the icing on the cake is a section that lists all of our main activities, and details which components make up that activity, and references where you can find them in the Manual.

This layout gives our Manual a clarity that makes it easy to understand and easy to use on a daily basis. The added bonus is that now the auditor can see inside our activities, and its makes auditing a fast and pain free process.

Te Anaroa Caves 

John Donovan
Ph: 03 524 8698

Our Business

Hi. My name is John Donovan.  I am the co-owner of Te Anaroa Caves ,in Golden Bay.  We take people on tours of our show caves; and also adventure caving, using abseil, in a living cave.(ie wet growing cave).  We are open most days all year by appointment, and everyday in summer.  We have 4 causal staff.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

We are proud of our end of trip call-in systems.

It works well for us because:

We require all guides to contact the office upon safely exiting the cave system.  If the contact is not made within due time, we have a plan, that all understand, to follow.  This allows our team to have confidence to stay with their group, knowing help is on the way, and how and where this will come from. This is because of the lack of cell phone/ radio coverage when 10-400 meters underground.

Thrill Seekers

Neil Duncan, General Manager  
Cell: 021 249 1419

Our Business

We employ 10 staff and operate 7 days a week year round.We are based in Hanmer Springs,North Canterbury.We run 4 main activities in Jet boating,Quad biking, River Raftingand Bungy jumping.We also do Claybird shooting and Paintball. 

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

We are very proud of all our safety systems but we feel our morning briefing and new hazard ID works really well with all our staff. We also have a hazards board that we enter our info on for everyone to review during the day. 

It works well for us because:

We work really hard with our staff as it's worth sorting issues out with staff and systems rather than employing new staff and having to train them to where you want them all the time. In our industry it's hard to find good staff that are trained in multiple activities which our business is made up of.

Waitomo Adventures Ltd

Wayne Darlington,Operations Manager
Ph: 078787788

Our Business

Waitomo Adventures has been in operation since 1987 operating 5 cave trip options ranging from Black Water Rafting through to abseiling 100m into the Lost World and most things in between. There has been considerable change in our clientele over the last decade or so where prior to this we had more of the Adventure athlete types or those perceived to be most suitable for the activity concerned - now almost everyone from all walks of life, background, ethnicity and creed are adventurers in their own minds and are looking for a buzz in their holiday lives. This is great for business but of course raises the stakes in terms of heightened Risk. I have been involved with WAL since late1995. The company operates all year round and we employ about 25 staff through the summer period including front desk staff and about half that number through the quieter winter months.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

The variety of clientele means that as an operator it is crucial to emphasise this at staff training to keep everyone 'on their toes' and keep paying clients safer for longer. We place particular emphasis on our initial training and have a continuing ongoing training program once trainees become guides that involves all aspects including risk management esp. high water risk management training. We also do  a lot of high rope work and rope rescue but what really keeps staff at the top of their game is a quality assurance program. This will involve a Senior guide or appropriate Intermediate guide observing their peers and in doing so have a list of guidelines to work to and provide constructive feedback and basically discuss matters pertaining to the guidelines and the trip at hand. What this does is keeps our guides learning  and looking to improve performance and not just accept the minimal guiding standard! Often the Senior person doing the Quality assurance will also learn something new about how to handle a particular situation or maybe another dry guide joke!

It works well for us because:

This works well for us as it creates a culture of continual learning and improvement and one where no-one wants to be 'that guide' where your client got hurt or didn't enjoy the trip. (Basically a positive and healthy environment where staff are looking to help others in the team and receive the same graciously).

Wild Earth Adventures

Steve Brown, Director
Ph: 03 489 1951
Cell: 027 4721 931

Our Business

Wild Earth Adventures is all about getting people out to enjoy New Zealand’s outdoors through rafting and jet boating, kayaking, canoeing, tramping, sea kayaking and other activities. Our typical season runs September through to the end of May. Heading into the busy period our staffing grows from 2 permanent up to approximately 12 seasonal staff with various specialized skill bases. We work with clients in both eco tourism and outdoor education experiences.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

Our Staff Induction system, refined over the past 12 years of operating, works really well for us. We work through the induction checklist with each new staff member, signing sections as they are being inducted. This means they are fully aware of all aspects of the job they are undertaking and also means we don’t miss out any vital steps.

The checklist covers safety and emergency procedures, ie reading SOP’s, H & S manual, environmental policies, using the Satellite phone, and also ensures we get copies of relevant qualifications to hold on their file, medical histories and also get bank account and IRD details. The file also has a training record for recording things like first aid refreshers, pre season training and any new qualifications gained.

What is highlights for us is the induction checklist ties together all components of our business ie, shows how all the different parts fit into place, for example how the SOP and Emergency Response folder work together. At the end of induction staff have a good idea of how it all works and fits together.

It works well for us because:

This checklist ensures that we get all the information needed from a new staff member in one easy process and don’t miss briefing them on any relevant operational procedures or miss information like their retaining copies of their drivers licence on file.

The induction list’s thoroughness sets a precedent, from the start, with new staff, that Wild Earth Adventures is organized and stands behind our byline “fun, safe, positive experiences in the outdoors”.

Wild Tracks Crazy Kiwi Buggy Adventures

Maree, Partner owner/operator
Ph: 03 522 4950

Our Business

Hi I am Maree, my husband John & I own & operate Wild Tracks Crazy Kiwi Buggy Adventures. A 6km guided off road buggy ride challenge on a purpose built course through our operating farm. Steep climbs, sheer drops & mud troughs. We usually use 2.5 staff (family) larger corporate events- occasionally need to employ one extra staff member. We are based in the Tasman region and operate all year.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

Client safety management. Using a combination of signage at the venue and out on the track, combined with initial safety briefing, driver training and on track verbal coaching.This combination ensures that drivers do not overlook warnings/hazards.

It works well for us because:

We have learnt that you cannot rely on signage alone to minimise risk & control client behaviour. This must be reinforced by verbal instruction, physical cues and supervision by staff.

Eg: We have three lots of signage at various key locations-informing of no smoking. We still have customers who will smoke in the vicinity of these petrol fuelled machines. We can't rely on signage alone & leave these people unsupervised by staff, signs alone don't bring compliance. We have to have a staff member allocated to verbally reinforce this & other signs that get ignored.

On track we have a large bright safety sign stating "Stop. Proceed when instructed". Some clients will somehow fail to see it. We now have the guide stand in front of it & point to it until he gets recognition. Our driver training & on track coaching is the other important element to the safety of this track.

Wild West adventure Co

Paul Schramm
8 Whall Street  
Greymouth 7805
Ph: 03 768 6649

Our Business

Hi, my name is Paul Schramm and I am the Owner of the Wild West Adventure Company in Greymouth. We currently employ 6 staff and operate all year. Our main activity is Blackwater Rafting.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

I reckon we have a great system that assists guides to analyse the risks for each days tour and then to make sound safety decisions about it.

It works well for us because:

It works well for us because we have a variety of activities that some staff only get to do intermittently. This procedure allows them to follow a system that will give them the same risk assessment as everyone else would come up with.

Then the decision making about how to run the trip, the number of guides needed and the support level is determined by the system. Nothing is left to anybodies opinion and this gives us all the confidence to know that the decisions we are making are robust and produce a safe experience for staff and guests. 

Ziptrek Ecotours

Mike Higson, Course Manager
Cell: 02102439564

Our Business

Hi, my name is Mike Higson, I am the Course Manager for Ziptrek Ecotours.  We are based in Queenstown and operate flying fox/zipline tours over-looking the town, lake and mountains and operate 365 days a year rain or shine. At Ziptrek we do not only zip you through the forest we also chat to you about the local area, our place in the world and what we can do to help sustain it. We have around 25 staff about half of which are in operations.

The part of our safety system that we are particularly proud of is:

The main thing that we are proud of with our safety systems is that we keep every aspect simple. We have a wide range of individuals in our team from seasoned outdoor professionals to entry level guides and so ensure our systems are as simple as possible to reduce the chance of issues arising. This approach runs through all of our systems including the way we attach our guests to the zipline, the way we bring them safely into the next treehouse, our training and our communications. I will focus on our communications here, specifically the use of radios between guides on course.

It works well for us because:

Our communication through radios is an essential part of our safety systems and helps us to ensure the safety of the guests in our care. We keep this communication simple by using specific predetermined radio calls. Our guides work in pairs and are for the most part at opposite ends of the ziplines where they have no visual or verbal link to each other. It is of extreme importance that radio calls are not misconstrued as this could result in a guest zipping at the wrong time. Our radio calls mark a specific procedural action so the other guide understands what action has just occurred and we use these radio calls as a check and counter check before sending anyone on the zipline.  Anything outside of normal procedure, the guide will switch to a different channel and talk to the Lead Guide, overseeing the course. The Lead Guide will then manage the situation and inform their guide partner what is going on.