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Created: 1st May 2023 by Ben Clarkson, 

David Sheppard, Max Farmer, Matt Adams and Will Henderson Biss 

Last Updated:

1st May 2023 by Ben Clarkson 

26th May 2023 by Will Henderson-Biss, Ben Clarkson and David Sheppard.



Purpose of this Document


  1. Driving for the Club


1.1 - Driver Experience and Eligibility

1.2 - Drivers per Vehicle

1.3 - Costs

1.4 - Hiring a Vehicle for a Club Trip

1.5 - Distances

1.6 - Theft

1.7 - Road Rules

1.8 - Insurance / Accidents

1.9 - Meetings and Lists


  1. Safety and Responsibility on Trips


  1. - Risks

  2. - Welfare


  1. PLBs


  1. - How the Club PLBs Work

  2. - Responsibilities 

  3. - Club Trips

  4. - Training

  5. - Costs

  6. - Remuneration

  7. - Chain of Command


  1. Gear


  1. - Bond

  2. - Return of Gear

  3. - Conditions of Hire

  4. - Information

  5. - Acquisition of Gear


  1. Discounts


5.1 - Drivers and Repeat Trip Leaders


  1. Trip Refunds


6.1 - Thursday

6.2 - Cancellations


  1. Membership Email and Bylaw Availability

7.1 - Email


Purpose of this Document:

This document contains the bylaws enacted by the executive committee of the Otago University Tramping Club (hereafter: the committee) pertaining to the day-to-day operation of the Otago University Tramping Club (hereafter: the Club or OUTC) and the requirements put in place for specific actions and roles that routinely occur in relation to Club activities or the management thereof. 

The bylaws have been enacted to put in place operational policies in the interests of safety and security for the Club and its Members; and must be adhered to in the operation of the Club and in the matters to which they individually pertain. 

Each bylaw pertains to a specific aspect of Club activity and may contain more than one policy covering the expectations and behaviours of club members. 

While they cover specific, common occurrences they are not exhaustive and common sense should be applied in instances where the policies themselves are not explicit and in the review and amendment of bylaws.

The bylaws in this document can be reviewed, amended or removed, and new bylaws added, at any regular meeting of the committee where at least half of the standing committee is present. This requires a two thirds majority vote. Any ratified changes take effect immediately upon their inclusion in this document.

The bylaws contained in this document and the policies they enact must be reviewed annually at the first meeting of the new committee following their election at the AGM. It is the responsibility of the President of the outgoing committee to inform their successor of this requirement. No changes need be enacted in this review if the bylaws are deemed satisfactory, but all members of the committee must be appraised of their content at this meeting.  

Any new bylaws created by the committee to address new matters must be added to this document. Any changes to existing bylaws must also be updated in this document. Policies recorded elsewhere are not considered bylaws unless they are contained within this document and have been confirmed by the committee. 

The bylaws must be available to members of the club and, where indicated, certain policies must be publicly displayed to members in specific contexts.




1) Driving for the Club: 

The policies contained within this bylaw have been put in place to ensure the safe operation of motor vehicles on trips by members of the Club when driving shared transport such as rental vans. These policies cover the activities undertaken by both drivers and passengers and establish their responsibilities in Club situations. Private vehicle users will also find some sections applicable.


  • 1.1) Driver Experience and Eligibility

To drive a rental vehicle, you must be at least 21 years old and must hold a full New Zealand Class 1 licence or overseas equivalent (and be legally allowed to drive in New Zealand). You must be a current financial member of The Club. 


Driving a large van carrying up to 12 people and often weighing over 3 tons is more challenging than driving a passenger car. For this reason, it is advised that first time drivers carefully consider their experience and ability before committing to driving. 


It is also essential that you are competent and experienced at using a manual transmission (stick shift), and are familiar with engine braking techniques if you are asked to drive a manual vehicle by the Club. The Club will inform its drivers of the type of  vehicle transmission in advance of a trip and organise drivers accordingly. 


It is recommended that you have had at least 5000km of previous driving experience and The Club would prefer that at least some of this has been on New Zealand roads including gravel road surfaces.


  • 1.2) Drivers per Vehicle

The Club requires that there be at least two drivers per vehicle who meet the above requirements. 


Diving should be shared between individuals to reduce fatigue.


  • 1.3) Costs

The hire costs are variable depending on the type of vehicle being hired and the rental company used. All Club vehicle hire is to be coordinated by the Transport Officer.


The driver and/or trip leaders are responsible for covering fuel costs and needs to make sure they have money available for fuel purchases. The Club will fully reimburse members for fuel expenses on Club trips. To get these expenses reimbursed, contact the Treasurers with a copy of the fuel receipt/s.


If you are using your own vehicle on a Club trip the Club will reimburse reasonable fuel expenses on application. Reasonable expenses are those directly related to Club matters and the transport of (preferably several) Club members or gear. 


  • 1.4) Hiring a Vehicle for a Club Trip


Trip leaders need to contact the transport officer as early as possible to book a van. The Club prefers not to have to cancel bookings after the Wednesday immediately preceding the weekend of a trip. The organisers of the Trip should do everything in their power to ensure accurate numbers and payment by members is secured well ahead of this deadline, and that weather cancellations have been decided upon by this point.


All bookings of hire vehicles on behalf of The Club must be undertaken by the elected transport officer. If the Transport officer is not available or the position is vacant then the president shall have this responsibility.


The transport officer may refuse the hire of a vehicle on behalf of The Club to a driver or drivers. This veto will not generally be exercised unless there has been a demonstrated recklessness, serious misconduct, or serious incompetence by the given driver on previous Club trips. The refusal to hire may be appealed at a regular committee meeting.


  • 1.5) Distances


On a weekend trip leaving on Friday night and returning on Sunday it is strongly recommended that the destination not be more than 400km or 5-6 hours maximum driving time from Dunedin. Driving longer than this can mean excessive fatigue and discomfort for both the drivers and passengers and a reduced enjoyment of the weekend as a whole.


This means that destinations in a rough circle bounded by Christchurch, Haast pass, and the Homer tunnel are feasible in a weekend. For destinations further away, at least a 3-day trip is recommended.


  • 1.6) Theft

Vehicle theft is an increasing problem in some areas of New Zealand. Do not leave valuable possessions in vehicles while you are tramping. Road ends close to populous centres are especially prone, such as the Kepler track and Arthur’s pass.


The Club does not accept any responsibility for personal possessions on Club trips, including but not limited to, consequential losses or theft.


  • 1.7) Road Rules


The Club expects that drivers will adhere to the Transport Act 1962, the Traffic Regulations Act 1976 and any other Act, regulations, or by-laws to road traffic. Under New Zealand law it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure knowledge of the relevant legislation. Any penalties incurred, monetary or otherwise are the responsibility of the driver.


As a driver you are directly responsible for the safety of your passengers and other road users. For this reason, The Club requires that you do not consume any alcohol or any substance that may adversely affect your ability to drive. This is strictly enforced and drivers who disregard this will not be permitted to drive again for The Club.


In the event of traffic offences including but not limited to careless driving, dangerous driving, reckless driving, alcohol and drug related offences, or travelling in excess of the posted speed limit, the Club does not accept any liability whatsoever including, but not limited to, consequential losses.


The Club has a zero-tolerance policy towards speeding when driving in an official capacity. Infringements for speeds in excess of 10km/hour above the posted speed limit are the sole responsibility of the driver and will immediately debar them from driving on further club trips. Debarment from driving can be repealed by the committee if there are reasonable grounds to do so.


  • 1.8) Insurance / Accidents


Only people named on the rental agreement may drive the vehicle. The Club must purchase insurance and excess reduction on all vehicles hired. 


In the event of vehicle damage or loss arising from, but not limited to, collisions or theft, The Club will assume responsibility for the excess payable on a relevant insurance claim.


However, if there is no relevant insurance, or the relevant insurance is rejected, then The Club assumes no liability whatsoever, including but not limited to, consequential loss.


For instances where you are driving, and violate traffic law, and have an accident, and it can be proved either by the insurance company, or the police that this accident was due either in part or in full to an action that constitutes a traffic violation then insurance is likely to be rejected. The Club will not support individuals financially in this situation.


Some rental companies have negative stipulations on certain roads. Any roads or areas in this category will be specified on the hire contract. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure compliance; otherwise, insurance may be rejected.


For private vehicles used on Club trips The Club assumes no liability whatsoever, including but not limited to, theft, fire and consequential loss. Drivers using private vehicles who do not own the vehicle should confirm that they are insured.


  • 1.9) Meeting and Lists

At the start of every year the committee must hold an introductory meeting for any individuals who wish to drive on club trips, detailing their responsibilities and benefits as outlined in the bylaws. A list of who is prepared to drive for the Club should be compiled from the members present at this meeting and individuals capable and legally eligible to drive a  manual vehicle should be indicated.  


2. Safety and Responsibility on Trips:


The policies contained within this bylaw have been put in place to ensure the safety of members on Club trips and appraise them of the risks and expectations present in an outdoors environment. These policies cover the activities undertaken by members and establish their responsibilities in Club situations. 


  • 2.1) Risks

Tramping, mountaineering, climbing, caving and other associated activities are inherently dangerous. While the Club does its utmost to encourage the safety of its members and operate to best practices, the safety of an individual in an outdoors situation is ultimately the result of their own actions. As such it is IMPERATIVE that members on Club trips are thoroughly vetted and are cognizant of the personal risks they are assuming by undertaking dangerous activities.

The organiser (or Organisers) of a Club trip are responsible for and must complete a RAMS (Risk Assessment Management) form before each trip and provide a comprehensive briefing as part of the meeting at which club members are selected for trips. This must include the following information:

“Tramping is an inherently dangerous activity and individuals who wish to come on these trips recognise that by doing so they are reasonably accepting the risks entailed in adventurous outdoor pursuits. All Club members ultimately remain responsible for their own safety at all times in the outdoors and must be comfortable relying on their own judgement and accurately assessing risks in such settings. The expectation is that members will ALWAYS behave in a manner that does not jeopardise their own or others safety. ”


The expectation is also that members should behave in a manner that will not adversely impact the environment. 


  • 2.2) Snow on Club Trips.

With the exception of Snowcraft, which is a skills based trip with the aim of instructing individuals in appropriate safety techniques and theory, no Club trips are to venture onto snow, glaciers or other terrain where there is a risk of avalanche or where specialised alpine safety gear is required.


  • 2.3) Trip Leaders.

Trip leaders are under no obligation to bring individuals on trips and have the right to refuse to take individuals if they believe they pose a risk to the safety of other individuals or themselves. Individuals should be thoroughly vetted at the pre-trip meeting - if it later becomes apparent that an individual is not competent, lacks the appropriate gear, skills or fitness the individual should be moved to another trip of lesser difficulty if such an action is suitable. 


In planning Club trips, trip leaders should apply reasonable levels of discretion regarding the number of punters on their trip. Leaders should keep their individual group to an appropriate and manageable size. 


Each Club trip must have a minimum of two (2) trip leaders, except in exceptional circumstances and where having fewer leaders would in no way reduce the safety or experience of any members on the trip. There may be more trip leaders per group as required for safety reasons, or if there is an unusually large number of punters on the trip/in the group, particularly inexperienced or international punters who may need more guidance, management or support than would otherwise be available. 


  •  2.4) Welfare

We have a welfare system in place, but the expectation is that all members will deport themselves in a manner befitting the ideals and values of the club.


Welfare forms are to be used for serious and significant issues, such as serious misconduct by a Club member. They generally should not be used to express displeasure about the difficulty of a trip or similarly trivial issues. 


3. PLBs


The policies contained within this bylaw have been put in place to ensure the safety of members  on Club trips and clarify the structuring and organization of emergency procedures within the Club. These policies cover the setup and system for the club PLBs and the responsibilities of specific members of the Club in emergency situations. 


  • 3.1) How the Club PLBs Work

The Club PLB’s are all registered to the number of Campus Watch at the University of Otago, which is staffed 24/7 by a member of their organization and receive copies of the PLB hire forms and emergency contact information filled out when they are rented from the gear room. In the event of a Club PLB being activated, they call the emergency contact listed on the form who assists them in sourcing the relevant information for emergency services.


New PLBs or equivalent should be registered with the campus watch number when first purchased. 


  • 3.2) Responsibilities 

It is essential that all Club PLBs have forms filled out before they leave the gear room when hired. The emergency contact must also be given a thorough rundown of the details of a trip by the trampers so as to expedite the process of mobilising aid. Trampers must also fill out the return form and indicate to their emergency contact that they have completed a trip at the soonest convenience.  


For Club trips, the emergency contact for the PLBs should be the same person for all trips and be an exec member with access to the OUTC google drive (allowing them to access information regarding medical conditions, allergies and next of kin contact information from the spreadsheets if necessary). They must remain in service for the duration of the trips they are the emergency contact for.  


For Club members on non-Club trips, PLB hire is available from the gear room. However, as with all Club gear they are for the use of Club members and should not be taken on trips where no Club members are present. Non-Club members can either rent PLBs from Unipol gym, or make the wise decision to join the OUTC for access to gear hire.  


  • 3.3) Club Trips

All Club trips must take club PLBs as opposed to personal ones. The reasoning for this is simple – while the devices will physically still work, it is significantly more difficult (if not impossible) to get valuable information to emergency services if someone’s mother is the emergency contact. They have no access to the databases available to the club or likely the ability to get in touch with club members to do so.


  • 3.4) Training

As a part of the training of new trip leaders, there must be a discussion of when to pull a PLB and what to do once one has been pulled (don’t move from the location, don’t pull it for non-emergency reasons, but also don’t hesitate if they should be pulled etc.).


  • 3.5) Costs

The Club will cover costs for replacing its PLBs or their batteries in the event they are pulled on a trip where a Club member is present (and has rented the PLB). If they are used on trips where no Club members are present, the individuals will be held liable for replacement costs and asked to contribute to the emergency services donation made by the club (outlined below).


  • 3.6) Remuneration 

For every PLB pulled during a calendar year, the Club will make a donation to an emergency services organisation or organisations of the committee’s choosing (LandSAR, Cliff Rescue etc.). The value of this is typically $1000 per event. 


  • 3.7) Chain of Command

In the event that next of kin must be contacted by a member of the club (although this should not occur and will be done by campus watch or emergency services) or any non-university or non-emergency related organisation communicated with by a member of the Club, it is the responsibility of the President to do so. If the president is unavailable, it is the role of the vice-president. 


It is also not the prerogative of this individual to communicate sensitive personal information to next of kin or to any media (indeed no media should be communicated with independently of any emergency services). 


4. Gear 

The policies contained within this bylaw have been put in place to outline the role and function of the gear room, and clarify the requirements surrounding gear hireage and the return of gear to the Club.


  • 4.1) Bond 

The bond for hiring gear is currently set at $60, this can be increased to at any time by committee vote, but should be obviously signposted in the gear room. This must be in cash and can be waived at the discretion of the gear officers. 


The bond is for the gear hire for a single individual only and sets of specialist gear, such as avalanche kits, climbing gear, snowshoes etc. require a bond of $60 for each set hired. 


Only current members of the Club may hire Club gear from the Gear Room. Club gear may not be hired by or on behalf of any non-Club members. All Club members, including members of the Executive Committee, are required to pay the bond to hire gear. There are no exceptions to this.  


The bond is forfeit in the event the gear is not returned (see 4.2 below), damaged through negligence (damage in the course of normal or appropriate use will not be penalized), or lost. In the event that an individual sells or attempts to sell rented Club gear for profit, the bond is forfeit and the matter will be referred to the relevant authorities. 


  • 4.2) Return of Gear

Gear can be hired from the Club gear room for no longer than two weeks without prior approval by the gear officers. If gear has not been returned within this timeframe, an attempt will be made to contact the hirer and an arrangement made for the return of the gear at the soonest available time. Individuals who have deliberately or negligently failed to return gear or have left Dunedin with it must arrange for the safe return of the gear at their own expense.  


If the gear has not been returned or immediate efforts are being made for its return two weeks after the initial attempt at contact has been made, or further attempts over the course of two weeks at contacting the individual have been unsuccessful, the bond is forfeit and the member will be invoiced for the cost of new replacement gear and/or the matter will be referred to the relevant authorities for the recovery of the gear in question. 


Failure to return gear in a timely manner may result in a temporary or permanent ban from gear hire (including its use on Club trips, which may preclude an individual's participation in Club trips if such gear is required for the safety of the group or individual).


  • 4.3) Conditions of Hire

Specialist gear must only be hired to individuals trained and competent in its use and implementation. Gear hire will be refused to individuals who obviously lack the skills to use specialist gear or are unaware of other key pieces of safety equipment required in their use (most commonly this is mountaineering gear, climbing gear and caving gear – where individuals must have specialist training in their use. For example: ice axes and crampons should not be lent out if individuals are unaware of avalanche transceivers, shovels and probes). This is at the discretion of the gear officers.


  • 4.4) Information

The information above should be displayed prominently in the gear room and hirers should be made aware of their obligations regarding the safe return and care of Club gear. 


  • 4.5) Acquisition of Gear

The Committee may direct the Gear Officers or members of the Committee to purchase new or second-hand gear to  restock the Gear Room as necessary. The Club may also take donations of second-hand gear assuming such gear is in reasonable condition. Any newly acquired second-hand gear should be thoroughly assessed and vetted by a known club member or member of the Committee with appropriate and sufficient expertise, to ensure that it is still fit for purpose. 


Second-hand technical fabrics such as slings, webbing, prusik cord and the like should not generally be accepted by the gear room.



5. Discounts


The policies contained within this bylaw have been put in place to outline the implementation of discounts for trip leaders.


  • 5.1) Repeat Trip Leaders and Drivers


Trip leaders are entitled to a discounted price on any club trip for which they are involved in leading, after their first - i.e. for the first trip they pay the full price and on all subsequent trips that the individual leads for the Club, they are entitled to a discount. This discounted rate is to recognise the time and work that trip leaders spend organising Club trips and to encourage them to remain engaged with the Club. 

Club members who become engaged in driving vehicles on Club trips (such as hired vans, private cars, or utes) are also entitled to a discounted rate for any trip for which they are listed as a driver. 


  • 5.2) Exceptions to and size of discounts.

These discounts are at the discretion of the President and the trip organizers. The discount for repeat trip leaders and van drivers should be as low as it is feasibly possible, while still enabling the trip to (on the whole) break even. In the past this has been anywhere from 60% to 30% of the “full price” paid by punters. For example, if a punter pays $100, a repeat trip leader would pay $50, or $70. The total discount given to trip leaders remains at the discretion of the President and the trip organiser.

6. Trip refunds


The policies contained within this bylaw have been put in place to outline the process and the refunds available  for Club trips.


  • 6.1) Thursday

No refunds are available after 12pm on the Thursday immediately preceding a trip. Individuals who can no longer attend a trip and  wish to be refunded must have contacted the leader of their trip by this time and expressly withdrawn from attending and asked for a refund. 


The trip leader must then update the overall organiser of the Club trip and direct the treasurers to provide a refund. 


At their discretion, the Treasurers can elect to give a refund to an individual after this date if their withdrawal was a matter of unavoidable personal circumstance, bereavement etc.


  • 6.2) Cancellations

If the Club cancels a trip for any reason, all individuals are entitled for a refund of their trip fees. In the case of trip leaders, they are also entitled to reimbursement of money already spent on group consumables for their trip, such as food.


7. Membership Email and Bylaw Availability


The policies contained within this bylaw have been put in place to outline the access and availability of the bylaws for members of the Club.


7.1) Email

The email sent to new Club members on the occasion of their sign up must include the information in sections 2.1, 3.2, 3.5, 4, 6.1 and 6.2 of the bylaws at the minimum in the main body of its text. It must also contain a link to the bylaws in full, which must be published and kept up to date on the OUTC website – as these indicate the expectations of club members and should be available for reference by members. The email must contain the text “The link below contains the Club bylaws and has important information regarding procedures and safety within the OUTC. By participating in Club trips and events you agree to behave according to these bylaws.”

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