Rotorua Canopy Tours

Q&A with Alex Barr – Operations manager


Please tell us a bit about Canopy Tours.

At Rotorua Canopy Tours, we offer two eco-tour experiences, each with a network of ziplines, suspended swingbridges, treetop platforms and forest trails. It is a uniquely intimate experience. Each tour has a limit of 10 people, meaning more time with our authentic Kiwi guides, who bring knowledge, fun and creativity to a story that goes back 1,000 years.

What do you love about your job?

I am the operations manager and look after the guides and the safety of everyone that comes on tour. I spend a bit of time in the office, but I love getting out into the forest to hang out with customers and enjoy conducting or being part of training with my team.

Tell us about your safety certification experience.

We have the OutdoorsMark Adventure Activities Certification. The process of going through the audit is pretty simple. It only takes a phone call or email to get the ball rolling, and you can start getting prepared in advance. Then the audit document gets sent through, and that’s when you need the time to sit down and work through the 102-point document.

Once that is complete, the auditor will go through your documents in preparation for the onsite audit. Its relatively straightforward – they will often go on the tour themselves, talk to staff members, and ask questions about your safety systems or processes.

This reoccurs every three years. And every year, I will also complete a declaration of conformity, which outlines any changes that have been made within that year.

How did you find working with Qualworx?

Everything was made as easy as possible. I had a bunch a questions when opening the Ultimate Canopy Tour last year, and found everyone I spoke to very open and willing to help. Like us, their goal is for everyone to be safe, so it’s all about easy and open communication to get to the right outcome. I have been through a couple of full safety audits, and have found the auditors to be great.

What advice would you give to other adventure tourism companies that are embarking on a safety audit process?

I would dedicate some time for yourself to complete it, and arrange your documents in a way that makes sense. This will make it quicker and easier for you and your auditor to find the information needed. Know your systems and processes well. If you know why you do something a certain way, it makes completing the audit document a lot simpler.

Matt Phillips