Safer Walking Partnership Framework

Safer Walking

The New Zealand Search and Rescue Council (NZSAR) with key stakeholders have developed the Safer Walking Partnership Framework.

This framework has been formed over the past decade in response to people with cognitive impairments who go missing while out walking (referred to as wandering within the Search and Rescue sector). Wanderer incidents as a percentage of CAT 1 land incidents has been steady at around 23% each year over the 7 years (2010/11 to 2017/18) (NZSAR Statistic). These incidents are therefore significant and with the increase of people with dementia and autism in the population there is an increased focus on this area.

The framework has four parts to it:

Reduction: People at risk of going missing, their family/whanau and support people try to ensure that the risk of going missing is managed while maintaining healthy walking activities and access to community.

Readiness: In the event that the person does go missing, family/whanau and support people know what to do and the response agencies are prepared.

Response: The missing person is located safely in a timely manner and returned to the most appropriate place.

Recovery: Reflect on incidents and share learnings so the programme can continuously improve.

There is a National Safer Walking Coordinator who works for LandSAR. The Coordinator liaises and supports WanderSearch Groups including LandSAR groups and other stakeholders with the implementation of the Safer Walking Partnership Framework. They also undertake ongoing identification and assessment of new technologies to reduce the risk of vulnerable people going missing.

Contact the Coordinator at