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"Good outdoor skills and a comprehensive understanding of how to look after yourself in the backcountry are a pre-requisite of entry to GODZONE. The event has been running a long time with lots of information about what goes on and what is expected of competitors. This is the toughest and most technical adventure race in the world. Be prepared."

- Warren Bates (GODZONE Event Creator)

Teams are not required to provide certificates of competence. However, it is a pre-requisite of entry that all competitors take personal responsibility for ensuring they have the skills, fitness and have prepared thoroughly for taking part in GODZONE. Team captains, in particular, should ensure that their team mates have the requisite ability to undertake an event of this nature. Any team or individual that the organisers deem to be insufficiently competent, or fit, to undertake any particular aspect of the event will be immediately asked to leave the course. GODZONE has been running for over 10 years with extensive media coverage and information available about what is involved. Everyone should enter the event with their ‘eyes wide open’ and know what will be ahead of them in the wilderness.

It is the competitors responsibility to ensure that they have all the skills to take on either the GZ Pure and GZ Pursuit events. If you are in any doubt about whether you have what it takes to compete at GODZONE contact the organisation via Keren, the competitor liaison, to discuss your options. Competitor safety is the most important thing at GODZONE but the organisers can only do so much. All teams and individuals enter on the basis that everyone takes responsibility for themselves during the event and pre-race preparation.

All participants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the requirements of wilderness travel and navigation, rope work and related equipment (specific skills will be outlined in Newsletters) and water safety (see below for more information). We strongly recommend that teams take their skill training extremely seriously. Teams and competitors should also ensure that they have first aid competency and know how to deal with situations in a calm and effective manner. Team should read and understand what is required in the conditions set out in the Acknowledgement, Waiver and Release form. All competitors will have to sign this form at registration.

Given the nature of GODZONE and the unpredictability of the weather, all participants are asked to ensure that they they carry all Mandatory Gear as stipulated by the Race Rules, as a very minimum. Individuals must take personal responsibility for themselves and their team mates.

Water Safety

Safety managers have reported a good improvement in overall skills of competitors over the past few Chapters. As ever, there is still some room for improvement at the back of the field, in particular. The need for good water skills and spending a lot of time out on the water is paramount to safety and your enjoyment. There is no substitute for experience and good quality training. However, we will once again reiterate below that you need to take things seriously.

It is not good enough to spend a couple of days in an inflatable boat or kayak beforehand and expect that this will ensure your safety and enjoyment. At the very least you must have a New Zealand Grade II Certificate (or International equivalent) and plenty of ‘water time’ so that you can put your skills to the test in a variety of conditions. If you have watched GODZONE before you know that we like to take teams on to more challenging water – sometimes up to Grade III+ – and the more water skills you have, the better. New Zealand based competitors, as a general rule, take kayaking and packrafting seriously and realise the challenges and dangers. Some overseas competitors are underestimating the need for the requisite skills and need to take this part of their training seriously. Competitors should arrive at the event comfortable with the skills of canoeing/kayaking and how to use a throw line and rescue team mates.

The list below is a non-exhaustive outline of the skills that you should prepare for (using both inflatable canoe and kayak, Canadian/single blade and double bladed kayak paddle):

  • General knowledge: In discussion with a recognised kayak instructor the competitor should show good knowledge of the following: Personal kayaking and safety equipment, river dynamics at Grade II and III level, hazards associated with kayaking including broaching, strainers and foot entrapment and the actions taken to avoid or minimise these hazards.
  • Moving water skills: Competitors must ensure competence in the following skills in Grade II water: Capsize in a grade II rapid and self rescue by actively swimming with all equipment to an eddy, forward paddling, forward and reverse sweep strokes, low brace, break in / break out of eddies, ferry glide, identifying a safe line and manoeuvring down Grade II and III rapids.
  • Participate in Rescue Skills: The competitor must be able to competently participate in the following rescues: Receive and throw a throw bag, be carried on the stern of a boat and deep water rescue.

Waiver & Release

All competitors must agree to the conditions, declarations and indemnifications outlined in the Acknowledgement Waiver and Release form and be willing to sign this at race registration. It is a prerequisite of entry that teams have read the release form. Click here to view the Acknowledgement Waiver and Release form.


Everyone in New Zealand has 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, no-fault comprehensive injury cover through ‘ACC’. New Zealand operates a nationwide scheme, in the form of ACC, which is a ‘no fault’ social health insurance policy. That means that everyone in New Zealand is covered no matter what they were doing when they were injured – even if it was a sport or activity that could be considered dangerous or extreme. ‘No fault’ means that no matter what you were doing when you were injured – whether your actions caused the injury, or were illegal or dangerous – you will be covered by ACC, so long as the injury falls within the parameters of ACC’s legislation. You can find out more about ACC by clicking here.

It is recommended that all competitors have appropriate insurance to cover any equipment loss or damage as the organisers will not be responsible for any claims during the event, regardless of fault.

International competitors

If you’re injured during your visit to New Zealand, ACC may be able to help with the cost of treatment and support you need while you’re here. However, it is important to be aware that you cannot sue for personal injury – ACC replaces that right. ACC only covers treatment and rehabilitation costs while you are in New Zealand; it is not a replacement for travel insurance and does not cover illness, disrupted travel plans or emergency travel to get you back home. It is a prerequisite of entry that all overseas competitors have suitable personal insurance cover which, amongst other things, mitigates repatriation costs.

The event organisers also have a public liability insurance policy.