Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Zealand: "Accidents" Continue in Adventure Tourism, Operator Charged with Manslaughter

COMMENT: Below is a link to continuing evidence that New Zealand's adventure tourism industry is in need of mandatory laws and protocols that ensure the safety and welfare of participants.

A recent victim was Australian Chelsea Callaghan, 38, who was killed on a Riverlands Adventures quad bike tour last October [2012]. Ms. Callaghan suffered fatal head injuries in the north Waikato accident; her life support was turned off a day later. Subsequently, Percy Kukutai, the owner of Riverland Adventures, appeared in the Pukekohe District Court last month, charged with her manslaughter.  

Police investigating the crash said Kukutai was charged after they found "hundreds" of safety deficiencies.

Riverland Adventures' website states that no previous quad biking experience is necessary for those on its tours. It provided only a 15-minute session on how to ride a quad bike before participants embark on a tour. 

In July 2012, another woman suffered head injuries after her quad bike rolled on a Riverlands Adventure tour.

Sadly, Prime Minister John Key has failed to initiate best practices designed to ensure that tour operators are drug-free and adhere to the same equipment safety standards employed in developed nations.

In the interim, tourists and travelers to New Zealand are urged to exercise caution before participating in any high-risk, discretionary form of adventure tourism.