The Society expects that the following code will guide the actions of New Zealand Speleological Society affiliated clubs and individual members, as well as promoting an ethical approach to caving by other cave users.

Avoiding damage to caves     
Take great care to avoid destruction or disfiguration of cave decorations (speleothems), and any other natural feature of caves.     
During initial exploration mark off sensitive areas, and mark routes for future use.     
In sensitive areas rigidly adhere to tracks, and follow route markers.     
Do not disfigure caves by unnecessary markings.  Survey marks must be small, inconspicuous, removable, and not attached to speleothems.
In areas of clean flowstone floors, remove muddy clothing and / or boots.
Leave no trace
Do not leave rubbish in caves, nor store unnecessary equipment in caves.
Where practical avoid camping in caves, and limit numbers to the minimum required for exploration.
Do not leave faeces in caves under any circumstances. Use a poo tube or plastic bags to pack out.
Water tracing
When carrying out water tracing work, only use tracing agents which present no danger to the cave flora or fauna, such as fluorescein WT.
Ensure that water supplies are not adversely affected by tracing agents, and before carrying out tracing obtain water rights from the applicable catchment authority and any relevant land owners.
Cave entrance controls
Do not construct a gate or a barrier in a cave without first obtaining approval of NZSS Council, and the landowner or administering authority.
Do not interfere with, force, or damage a legitimately erected gate or barrier.
Fixed rigging
Use bolts for rigging in caves only when this is the most practical solution.
Use only bolting equipment that complies with the NZSS Bolting Guidelines, to ensure that poor-quality bolts do not proliferate at pitch-heads.
When rigging is left long-term in a cave, ensure that it is fit for purpose, complies with good practice, and is in good condition.
Cave deposits
Do not remove any deposit, speleothem, sub-fossil remains, flora or fauna, or any other naturally occurring thing from a cave or karst area without first obtaining permission from the administering authority, and only for valid research purposes.
Do not move sub-fossil bones from their original position, unless they need to be moved aside to protect them.
Lodge any objects removed from a cave or karst area (permission having been granted), with a recognised museum or research organisation.
Respect Māori tapu relating to burial caves, and do not enter such caves without permission.
Leave human remains, artefacts, and other objects undisturbed.
Do not take photographs without obtaining permission.
Farms and private land
Obtain permission in advance from the owner before entering a cave or crossing private property.  On no account take access for granted.
Respect restrictions placed on access to caves,for example, during the lambing season.
Avoid interference with crops and stock, and leave all gates as found.
Do not conduct any substantial dig, or use explosives, on the surface or underground without the permission of the landowner (or administering authority).
Do not take a dog, or carry a firearm without the prior consent of the landowner (or administering authority).
Flora and fauna
Do not interfere with or collect any life forms found in caves.
Avoid disturbing cave inhabitants such as wētā, eels, and crayfish while moving through a cave.
Take care in the twilight zone of entrances to minimise damage to lampenflora.
Public relations
Obtain permission from the managing authority before entering a tourist cave, avoid tourist groups in the cave where possible, and treat guides, their clients, and tourism managers courteously.
Do not interfere with the current exploration of a cave by another group.
Publishing and social media
Be discreet in disseminating information that might endanger caves or karst areas.
Do not reveal the location of entrances to the general public, and do not disseminate coordinates or maps of cave locations.
Do not publish, or draw media or public forum attention to scientifically, ecologically, or physically sensitive caves or karst areas without prior consultation with NZSS Council.
When publishing take particular care to acknowledge other people's contribution to the work involved, whether as clubs,groups, or individuals.
Take care to not inadvertently disclose the location of cave entrances on social media.
Ensure that when cave entrance photographs are shared digitally, they have the metadata removed, so that the location is not revealed by the associated information.





Mission Statement

To be the national speleological body for New Zealand, assist in the conservation of caves and karst, and to represent the interests of its members.

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