Salvation Army Blue Mountain Adventure Centre

Q & A with Kyle Aitken – Manager


Please tell us a bit about the Blue Mountain Adventure Centre.

The Salvation Army's Blue Mountain Adventure Centre is based at the foot of Ruapehu and has been in operation for over 25 years. We have six full-time staff that love to live, work and play around the Central Plateau.

We take clients of all ages into the outdoors, and run a wide range of activities including adventure based learning, caving, canoeing, canyoning, high ropes, mountain biking, mountaineering, rock-climbing, tramping and white-water rafting.

What do you love about your job?

We love working with such a wide range of people, from young children right through to those in the golden years of their lives. We especially love seeing our clients all begin to realise their God-given potential through the challenges they encounter with us. There is definitely something for everyone here.

Tell us about getting your Qualworx safety certification.

We have an OutdoorsMark Safety Audit certification. Gregg, our operations manager, did a whole lot of work bringing our safety management system into line with current best practice, moving over from an older risk analysis system to a newer one, and then sorting all the site-specific details as well.

The audit started officially with getting our auditor Dave Watkinson onsite; he came and did the initial site and gear audit, and then covered rock climbing, abseiling and high ropes. And then, because we do such a large number of different activities, we needed to have technical experts in all of those areas come and observe us. A number of those subsequent visits have happened, and we’ve been signed off for our certification, conditional upon us completing the rest of our technical expert audits – which will happen as the season gets underway.

How did you find working with Qualworx?

It was actually a breeze working with Qualworx. Dave has been very proactive and has kept us up-to-date with where the process is at, providing a really efficient and cost-effective service. The value for money has been great.

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

Just to prepare yourself as much as possible beforehand. Check the current government policies and regulations to ensure you are operating at the industry standard, make sure you have a good, useable and easy-to-understand format, eliminate unneeded waffle, and make sure that you ask any questions early on, to eliminate frustrations.

Matt Phillips