Information for event organisers to consider when planning an event.

Equipment and devices

Event health and safety

When you run an event on public land, you have a duty of care towards all people on your event site: workers, volunteers, attendees etc.

Health and safety management plan

Requirements that must be part of your written Health and Safety Management Plan to align with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015(external link):

  • A system is in place for the identification, assessment, control and review of hazards before and during the event.
  • Health and Safety responsibilities are assigned to designated staff including volunteers.
  • All staff working at the event location have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their job adequately, or will be adequately supervised.
  • A plan is in place to inspect the event location to ensure that the venue is safe prior to the event.
  • An Accident Register is kept on site.
  • An Emergency Plan designed for the event is in place for dealing with a variety of emergencies.
  • A Health and Safety briefing is carried out with staff (including volunteers) prior to each session of the event and is documented.
  • A system is in place with the collaboration of all partners and suppliers to ensure the public is not endangered by activities carried out at the event venue.

For more information and advice, please visit the WorkSafe New Zealand website(external link).

Reporting accidents

Employers, principals and self-employed persons must notify WorkSafe(external link) as soon as possible of accidents and occurrences of serious harm.

Other health and safety resources

Event accessibility toolkit

Early planning of your event

If you have choice of venue, consider accessibility as part of the decision making process for where to hold the event.

Many access issues can be overcome, but some venues are easier than others to make accessible.

Deciding on a venue for your event

  • Review potential venues early so you have time to put in place what is needed.
  • Take a detailed walk-through of the venue from the perspective of all the relevant groups. E.g. participants, competitors, performers, artists, spectators, supporters, crew, volunteers, etc.
  • Plan your signage to make finding your way around the event easy.
  • Seek expert advice. E.g. a wheelchair user will be able to explain any potential issues with a site. 
  • Document the accessibility of each venue.


  • Check accessibility requirements set by your funders or sponsors. E.g. The Christchurch City Council may have requirements which they will discuss with you.
  • Check accessibility costs. E.g. accessible Portaloo, ramps and/or sign language interpreters. 
  • Check for funding available for accessibility from your funders or others.
  • Plan how you show your funders that your event has been accessible. 

Costs to event attendees

  • Consider the costs that will be incurred by event attendees as part of deciding on a venue.  Cost can be an access barrier for many.
  • Ensure the costs of this venue are going to result in an affordable event.

Disability access policy

  • Develop a policy that describes the event’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion and how the event will achieve this.

Resource list

The resources below are available to consult in the early stages of planning. 

Resource Comments
Arts Access Aotearoa(external link): Arts for All: Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014) Provides a wealth of information about access and inclusion from an arts perspective, much of which is applicable for other types of events
Christchurch City Council community workshops(external link) Get Set Go Guide and Planning Sheets give a general guide to event planning
Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN)(external link) and Attitude is Everything(external link) (UK), Access Toolkit: Making outdoor arts events accessible to all Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events
Barrier Free New Zealand Trust(external link) Guidelines and resources on a range of relevant topics
Selwyn District Council(external link) Event Planning Guide and Event Planning Resources A general guide to event planning – checklists, examples and forms
Blind Low Vision Foundation(external link). Accessible signage guidelines Advice on signage features that will make it most easily read
Office for Disability Issues(external link) A range of useful resources and links, including Effective communication with deaf people; disability responsiveness; accessible communications
Equal Access Pty Ltd Australia(external link) Overview of events access issues / Checklist
Be Accessible(external link) Access information particularly relevant to venues, access accreditation scheme and a self-assessment option

Promoting your event

Information about an event is essential to both the organisers and the attendees and communicating effectively with people with disabilities is fundamental.  If a potential attendee has a disability or would go to the event with a disabled person, this information is even more important. 

From the attendee perspective, there are three key stages when information makes a difference: deciding whether to attend, putting in place any necessary arrangements and participating fully and positively in the event.

Promotional materials 

  • Consider the format you will use to promote your event.
  • Have a range of formats to reach people with disabilities. E.g. printed material, large print, audio, website.
  • Printed material is large enough to read easily and has adequate colour contrast.
  • Website accessibility guidelines are met (e.g. readable by screen readers).  

Contact information

  • Include contact email address, phone number and website address on promotional material.
  • Offer a method for people to ask questions, i.e. Contact us at….. if you have a question. 
  • Ensure your event booking service know/can find answers to accessibility questions, or provide them with contact details for someone who can assist.

Event venue details

  • Clarity regarding the location of the event is important – street address, plus nearest landmarks, cross streets etc.
  • Maps are great, especially if they have accessibility features marked, e.g. mobility parking, accessible toilets. 
  • Maps should be uncluttered with large font and good colour contrast. Web-based maps that enable size adjustments can be helpful.
  • Provide information about the type of venue, i.e. indoors or outdoors:
    • If outdoor, include ground surfaces that are easy for a person using a wheelchair to move over, e.g. even, firm, free of hazards.
    • If indoor, including if there is full access to all aspects of the event, i.e. level, ramps or steps.

Event timing

  • Include event start and end times to help with the planning of transport or care arrangements.
  • Include when the venue opens and closes.


  • Provide clear information on cost, including any costs beyond the entry fee.
  • Let people know about any concessions for carers, Community Services Card holders, KiwiAble Cardholders, or by age.
  • Include how to pay and who to contact for more information about costs.

Resource list

Resource Comments
Christchurch City Council events planning workshops(external link) General promotion and publicity ideas and examples
Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN):(external link) Making outdoor arts events accessible to all Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events.  Checklists, examples, discussion of marketing events
Blind Low Vision Foundation(external link). Advice on making your website accessible Free resources and consultancy service and resources
Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All(external link): Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014) Excellent information on communication with people with disabilities.  There is an online Q&A template “Marketing to the disabled community checklist”
Attitude is Everything(external link): Improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music Information on what information is needed on your website


Getting to and from the event

The current terrain in Christchurch poses particular challenges for people with disabilities. 


  • Multiple options for getting to the event. The more the better.
  • Check for roadworks in the vicinity that may affect travel.

Bus travel 

  • Easy access by bus.
  • Ensure buses are wheelchair accessible.
  • Know how far the venue is from the bus stop.
  • Offer the ability to wait undercover.
  • Promote the nearest bus routes and how/where to find the bus schedule.
  • Check real-time information such as road/route changes.
  • Check if you need extra buses.

Car travel 

  • Provide directions on how to get there.
  • Offer a drop-off and pick-up point near the main entrance so a person with a disability can get close to the entrance and the car can be parked elsewhere.
  • Designated and ample mobility car parking.
  • Ability to extend mobility car parking as needed when people arrive.  
  • Sign-posted accessible route from car parks to the event entrance.
  • If parking is not available, confirm where the nearest place people can park (including nearest mobility car parks).
  • Consider allowing parking to be booked or reserved.


  • Designated taxi drop-off and pick-up point. Covered for those waiting is best.  
  • Some people may use maxi taxis, which have a hoist and require space to lower and raise this.
  • Confirm the distance from the nearest taxi stand to the venue.

Entry and exit to the venue

  • Provide a site layout/map showing entry and exit points and other key features such as ramps.
  • Ramps to be compliant with the Building Code with respect to slope steepness and turns and have handrails and slip-resistant flooring.
  • If the accessible entrance is not the main entrance, confirm it be unlocked and unobscured and have good signage.
  • Automatic doors are preferred to turn-style entries or doors which are difficult to open.
  • Consider having an event staff member at the entry to assist.
  • Consider how people will exit the event in emergency situations:
    • Accessible emergency exits location.
    • Systems of allocating staff to assist people with disabilities.
    • Both visual and auditory signals.

Resource list

Resource Comments

Arts Access Aotearoa(external link) Arts for All: Opening doors to disabled people (2009)

Excellent information on issues of travel to and from events

At the event

An event that is easy to move around is more enjoyable for everyone. 

Safe and usable

  • If your event is not level, ensure there are safe ramps or lift entry to all aspects of the event.
  • If there are barriers for people with mobility impairments, it is very important that this is made known so people can decide if they want to attend.
  • If seating location is restricted – people generally prefer to have a choice - this may deter attendees.
  • Have reception/information/payments desk height easily accessible to people in a wheelchair.
  • All ramps are compliant with the Building Code with respect to slope steepness and turns.
  • All ramps have handrails.
  • All ramps, stairs and other surfaces are slip-resistant.


  • Include accessible EFTPOS and ATM machines.
  • A direct taxi phone line.
  • A hearing loop or other hearing assist device.

Getting around

  • Good signage – clear, legible, contrasting background, adequate size lettering.
  • Passageways are clear of obstacles.


  • Designated areas where people with disabilities may sit to best enjoy the event. This should be an option and not mandated seating.
  • Rest sitting is available throughout public spaces during the event. 
  • Seating that is easy to get up from.
  • Furniture and fittings that are free of hazards.


  • Ample accessible toilets, which may be permanent or portable. 
  • Good signage to the accessible toilets.
  • An accessible family room.
  • Enough room for a person using a wheelchair to turn 360 degrees, and room for a companion.

Service dogs

  • A policy allowing access for a service dog.
  • Amenities for service dogs.

Resource list



Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All(external link): Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014)

Excellent ideas to address access issues

Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN):(external link) Making outdoor arts events accessible to all. 

Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events.

Attitude is Everything:(external link) Improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music

Information on viewing areas to improve the experience of a disabled audience

Barrier Free New Zealand Trust(external link)

Information on ramp and toilet standards

Customer service

The confidence of staff and event personnel is fundamental to access.  Investing in improving the knowledge and skills of event staff and volunteers can have a positive payback. 

Accessibility and inclusion are more likely if you have experienced staff and volunteers assisting disabled people, who understand their requirements and have the right skills and attitudes.

Assistance from event staff

  • Convey a willingness to listen and help.
  • Train staff on disability and access matters. This is often known as Disability Awareness, and might include definitions, etiquette, labels.  
  • Have designated event staff or volunteers who can assist a person with a disability. Know where will the designated personnel be located.
  • All staff should know what to do when alerted to the potential need for assistance.
  • Consider location of staff, e.g. car park, entrance, to assist with seating
  • Ensure enough marshalls/volunteers.
  • Confirm if any staff/volunteers know sign language.
  • Do not assume a person in a wheelchair can get out of it (or if they can, that they want to)– everyone is an individual.
  • Not all disabilities are visible.


Audio description makes performances more accessible to people with visual impairments.   It is an additional narration track intended primarily for blind and visually impaired consumers of visual media (including television and film, dance, opera, and visual art).

Resource list



Christchurch City community workshops(external link)

Includes sections on working with volunteers

Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All:(external link) Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014)

Excellent ideas to welcome all people and understand disability. Also includes information about audio description

Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN)(external link) and Attitude is Everything (UK)(external link), Access Toolkit: Making outdoor arts events accessible to all.

Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events.

Upper Hutt City Council(external link): DIScover: Serving customers with disabilities and associated Training Guide

Useful guide regarding customer service and disability issues

Post-event evaluation

A major goal of any event is for the participants to have their expectations met or exceeded.   

We encourage you to identify whether there are any access and inclusion issues in your evaluation. You may find that funding is increasingly dependent on the evaluation of previous events, and being able to take a disability focus shows you take accessibility and inclusion seriously.

Evaluate your event

  • Find out if you met your event objectives
  • Find out how people heard about the event
  • Find out what participants liked and didn’t like, so you can make any changes for next time
  • Get an idea of how many people took part
  • Get information to help with planning the event next time
  • Get information for funders and sponsors


  • A survey should ask questions about access and other factors that affected access and inclusion.
  • If you have an online registration process, ask permission to contact participants after your event. This will enable you to send out a post-event survey. 
  • You may offer a prize to those who return surveys online or at the event itself.
  • Your survey can ask a question about disability status so you can analyse the results for people with and without a disability (the same way you might analyse results by age group, gender, etc).  

Additional options for evaluation

  • Observing participants on the day.
  • Chatting informally during the event, to participants, staff, sponsors, stallholders, etc.
  • Having a complaints and comments process.
  • Focus groups.
  • Collect anecdotes.
  • An event debrief.
  • Photo or video to capture accessibility successes and challenges.
  • Try to find out what the event meant to attendees, what difference it made to them.

Note that the Be Welcome programme includes events – you can engage them to work with you to improve access and inclusion – contact details are below.


  • Collect negative feedback before, during or after the event. 
  • Instruct everyone associated with the event to be alert for complaints and to note these.
  • Encourage the person to put their concerns in writing so the event organisers can respond formally.
  • Respond to all complaints.
  • Be aware that people can complain to the Human Rights Commission if their rights have been breached due to their disability.


Evaluation approaches often include only those who participated in an event.  However, it may be that people with disabilities did not attend your event for some reason that you could have addressed.  Did they miss out on event information?  Were they unable to find out who to ask for information?  Not get good answers to their questions?  Was travel too difficult or the venue inaccessible or a lack of interpreters?  

Consider finding a way to meet with non-attendees and/or organisations that understand the access needs of people with disabilities who would have attended if something was different. This can be part of ongoing relationship-building and improvement for future events.

Resource list

Document / Resource


Selwyn District Council Event Planning Guide(external link), Evaluation chapter

General discussion on evaluation after the event

Selwyn District Council Event Planning Resources(external link), Resource No 27

One page post-event survey

Human Rights Commission(external link)

Process for making a complaint

Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All(external link): Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014)

Excellent information.

Organisations that can help

Organisation Who to contact and how they can help
Christchurch City Council Events team

Specialists in running medium to large events in the city such as Summertimes and Sparks.

Provides an events training programme(external link) and can offer advice on funding.

Christchurch City Council Community Recreation Advisors(external link)

Phone 03 941 8899

Specialists in running small to medium size events based in local communities/wards. Also support for funding requests.

Christchurch City Council
Inclusive Communities Coordinator
03 941 8210

Rachel Mullins

Advice on recreation inclusion for disabled people

CCS Disability Action
224 Litchfield Street
PO Box 1506
Christchurch 8140
03 365 5661

BJ Clark, Barrier Free Trust (NZ)(external link) Advisor

Advice on meeting disability needs in buildings and external environments such as car parks. 

CCS Disability Action is a national organisation that advocates for all disabled people in New Zealand.

Blind Foundation 
Orientation & Mobility Advisor
96 Bristol Street
Christchurch 8014
PO Box 1696
03 375 4300

Carina Duke

Advice on meeting the needs of people with vision impairments in buildings and external environments.

The Blind Foundation is a national organisation that advocates for all people with vision impairments in New Zealand.

Deaf Aotearoa
96 Bristol Street, St Albans
PO Box 13332, City East
Christchurch 8014
0800 332 322 


Advice on meeting the needs of people who are deaf.

Deaf Aotearoa is a national organisation that advocates for all people who are Deaf in New Zealand.


Arts Access Aotearoa(external link)
Community Development Advisor
61-63 Abel Smith Street
Wellington 6141
PO Box 9828 Wellington
Phone: 04 802 4349

Advice on the accessibility of arts events. 

Arts Access Aotearoa advocates for people in New Zealand who experience barriers to participation in the arts, as both creators and audience members.