Auditz.io co-founder Duncan Faulkner with Jolanda Foale,
from Heliview Cromwell. Photo supplied.
Cromwell man Duncan Faulkner wants to help reduce the
number of tragedies in the adventure tourism industry.
The first step in doing that was providing the tools to
manage safety in the industry.
Mr Faulkner is the co-founder of Auditz.io, an online safety
management system which was launched just over a month ago,
to help ensure businesses were compliant with health and
safety legislation and industry best practice.
He has first-hand experience in the industry, having been
involved in adventure tourism for about 16 years.
That started as a kayaking instructor in the United Kingdom
and France and continued with an involvement in extreme
sports and high-risk environments.
Previously a police officer in both the UK and also in
Queenstown, he remembered his first day at the Queenstown
police station, when he saw the riverboard and wetsuit used
by English tourist Emily Jordan (21), who was killed while
riverboarding in the Kawarau River Gorge in 2008.
That was when he first became aware of some of the challenges
the adventure tourism industry faced, in terms of providing
better safety management systems.
An adventure tourism review was ordered by Prime Minister
John Key the following year, after he received a letter from
Miss Jordan's father.
Mr Faulkner later became a helicopter pilot. While working at
Aurum Helicopters, he spent a winter developing and writing a
helicopter safety management system.
Although they knew how to fly helicopters and operate safely,
it felt like they were also being tested on their ability to
create ''a beautiful looking document'', he said.
He believed adventure tourism operators genuinely wanted to
comply with the legislation but they lacked the tools.
Adventure activity operators have until November 1 this year
to undergo and pass a safety audit to become a registered
adventure activity operator under the Health and Safety in
Employment (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011. They
otherwise face prosecution under the Health and Safety in
New Zealand's tourism industry was diverse, with ''hundreds''
of operators ''in every little corner'' of the country and
that was what made the industry ''world class', Mr Faulkner
While the regulations were put in place for the best reasons
- to prevent lives being lost - the tools were not there for
people to build those systems, he said.
About a year ago, Mr Faulkner and Brian Graham formed Peak
Software, modelling it on Xero - ''they've got beautiful
software that makes accounting a breeze'' - and they wanted
to replicate that for safety.
It gave operators, regulators and industry associations the
ability to put in information that was relevant, he said.
If people suddenly started to get audits done, there was
potentially going to be a ''huge bottleneck''. But with the
software, auditors could log in and instantly view a
company's safety management systems.
It reduced that bottleneck and it also meant safety
consultants could give operators the knowledge they had to
manage safety, while for the operators themselves, they had a
simple platform to pro-actively manage safety.
It was ''as easy to use as Facebook'' and it had already
attracted interest from companies such as Southern
Discoveries. Feedback had been ''phenomenal''.
Mr Faulkner was particularly keen to help smaller operators
and he hoped that industry associations and the Government
would get behind it.
There had been a lot of ''really desperate'' operators
looking for tools in terms of technology, but the technology
had not been there.
There was the ability to customise the software to any
industry in any country and the potential was ''unlimited''.
Every industry had problems with health and safety, he said.
Jolanda Foale, from Heliview Cromwell, said Auditz.io took
the pain away from building a safety management system for
the company's new heli biking operation.
''Safety is our number one priority and, for us, it isn't a
headache anymore,'' she said.