SunSmart councils

Councils play an important role in the health and safety of their communities.

Councils play a crucial role in helping communities to be SunSmart. Minimising exposure to UV radiation should be part of all council workplace health and safety policies. Quality shade in outdoor areas can reduce UV exposure by up to 75% when used with the other four SunSmart steps

Shade - All communities deserve shade at recreation areas

New Zealanders need more shade in the places they live, work, and play. Shade is a practical long-lasting form of sun protection that creates cool and comfortable spaces. 

A comprehensive guide to shade design and planning is available here.

A handout for councils regarding shade is available here

Promote sun protection in your community

Make your events SunSmart by providing plenty of shaded areas for community members and staff. Find more tips on how to do this here.

Adopt a SunSmart workplace policy to protect Council employees

Protect your outdoor workers from harmful UV radiation by following a SunSmart workplace policy. Workers who work outside for all or part of the day face a higher risk of skin cancer. By implementing a range of protective measures, sun-related injuries and skin cancer can be prevented.   

Sample SunSmart workplace policy 

Adopt a SunSmart policy for council-managed early childhood services

Make sure your early childhood service is SunSmart by having a sun protection policy in place. This will guide the implementation of a range of sun-protective strategies to protect staff and children in your care. 

Sample SunSmart policy for early childhood services  


How Tauranga City Council made their playground SunSmart

How much shade does your Council provide at playgrounds?

Research undertaken by the Promotion and Policy Research Unit, University of Otago, Wellington and funded by Cancer Society of New Zealand, Wellington Division, has made it possible to compare the shade levels in council playgrounds around the motu.

Download this map to see how your council compares.

Below are some useful maps indicating the number of days per year that the UV Index is considered high or extreme in your council area:

More information on shade

Built sunshade in six New Zealand public spaces 

Kamala Pavilion, Wellington Zoo

Some research was undertaken in 2016 that looked at public shade canopies in six different locations.

The findings gave insights into:

  • the process of designing and building the canopies
  • how people use the shade
  • the level of protection from UV radiation the canopies give
  • possible future designs for public spaces in New Zealand that include effective shade.

Read the research

Read a PDF of the research [11.4MB]

Australian Shade resources

Cancer Council Victoria's has a good 2015 Shade Guideline resource.  These guidelines can be used to increase availability of quality shade in your community. They also have a free shade audit tool which enables users to assess the quality and need for shade at various sites within Australia.

Learn more about the Australian shade audit tool