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Hidden Valleys New Zealand Safety

We love our jobs, we love New Zealand and we love hiking, exploring and rafting, but we don’t go anywhere if it’s not safe – end of story!  Your safety is as important to us as it is to you.

Hidden Valleys is a registered New Zealand Rafting Association company and is certified under New Zealand Maritime Safety Law as an approved rafting operator in New Zealand.  Grant South (Southy), the owner of Hidden Valleys, initiated the New Zealand Rafting industry workshops, which have resulted in increased levels of safety and fostered an environment in which professional guides can operate.  He was also responsible for writing some of the Unit Standards on the National Qualifications Framework.   Southy is a National Assessor and one of only two registrars for the New Zealand Rafting industry in New Zealand.

All our guides are professionally qualified and experienced.  In addition, our guides are credible industry leaders, who took part in setting guide standards for the Maritime Safety Authority.  Not only have we worked together for years on the rivers, we have worked for the industry itself.

Our Safety Procedures

All our trips are subject to weather and river conditions.  Plane and helicopter flights are weather dependent and decisions for flying conditions are made on the day.

Our fully licensed and qualified guides are chosen for their skill, knowledge and experience.

Full safety briefings and practical instructions are provided for all our tours.

New Zealand Rafting Safety Practices

At least two guides are taken on all departures and a Mountain Radio is carried at all times.

For river trips of grade 4/5, a minimum of two rafts and three guides are used.  One of these guides will operate as a safety kayaker, an important member of our safety team.

River Grade Classification

Classification of Rapids according to the International Rapid Grading System

Grades are approximate, rather than a definitive measure of a rapid’s seriousness, difficulty, or degree of danger.

Grade 1

Rapids are small, regular waves and an easy passage to pass through with no obstructions.

Grade 2

Rapids have regular, medium sized waves.  The passage to pass through is generally unobstructed, although there may be some rocks or obstacles.

Grade 3

Rapids with fairly high waves (1-2 metres).  There will be some definite river features such as strong eddies, stopper waves, exposed rocks, small drops.  A passage may be harder to recognise and some manoeuvring is required to negotiate.

Grade 4

Difficult rapids with high, powerful, irregular waves, definite river features broken and boily water.  Some hazards.  The passage is often hard to recognise and precise and sequential manoeuvring is required.

Grade 5

Very powerful rapids and strong current.  There may be numerous obstacles.  Precise, powerful sequential manoeuvring is required.  A definite risk to personal safety exists.

Grade 6

Near impossible to navigate.  Life threatening.

Information extract from New Zealand Rafting Association