Here we explain the role of land owners and land managers where adventure activities are being provided on their land.

It is important for land owners and managers to be aware of their health and safety responsibilities when granting permission for adventure activity operators to use the land they own or manage.1 This page summarises what is required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (the Act).

The Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016 require adventure activity operators to undergo a safety audit and register with WorkSafe New Zealand before advertising or providing an adventure activity for payment.

What are the responsibilities of the land owner or manager?

Under the Act, a land-owner or manager of land, where adventure activities are provided, is considered to be a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) and as a result they are a ‘duty holder’.

A PCBU who manages or controls a workplace must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the workplace, the entry and exits, and anything arising from the workplace, are without risks to health and safety of any person. This duty does not apply in relation to any person who is at the workplace for an unlawful purpose.

A PCBU must also consult with other PCBUs who have duties in relation to the same matter.

A PCBU must, so far as is reasonably practicable, eliminate risks to health and safety. Where it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, the PCBU must minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable. This applies to the extent to which the PCBU has, or would reasonably be expected to have, the ability to influence and control the matter to which the risks relate.

In relation to access to land for adventure activities, WorkSafe considers that responsibilities would include:

  • The land owner or manager seeking proof of the operator’s current adventure activities registration. This can also be confirmed using the online register of adventure activity operators(external link)
  • The land owner or manager warning operators and participants about hazards on the site that could give rise to reasonably foreseeable risks to health and safety. This means that all hazards (including natural hazards and not just out-of-the-ordinary hazards) should be identified and notified to the operators and participants.
    • This means giving at least a verbal warning about the hazards (though you can for your own records and for evidence later keep a written record):
      • at the time you grant permission for the land to be used, and
      • as new hazards arise.
    • It will generally be sufficient to give the warning to the person who will oversee the adventure activity.

What are the related responsibilities of the adventure activity operator?

Operators who access land for adventure activities need to follow:

  • any instructions concerning control measures put in place by the land owner or manager to manage the identified hazards on the site
  • other reasonable requests (eg shutting farm gates and not frightening stock during lambing).

Further information

For further information on the Adventure Activities Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, email us at aao@worksafe.govt.nz

For related information about access, see:


1 - "Adventure Activity Operator” is defined under regulation 3 and “Adventure Activity” is defined under regulation 4 of the Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016.(external link)