Slip into shade│Whakaritea he wāhi marumaru

Shade is one of the key steps to being SunSmart to decrease your risk of getting skin cancer.

Well-designed shade can reduce UV radiation exposure by up to 75%. When used with other SunSmart behaviours, shade is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Direct and indirect UV radiation

We can be exposed to direct and indirect UV radiation.

  • Direct UV radiation comes directly from the Sun.
  • Indirect UV radiation bounces off a reflective surface such as water, sand, concrete or snow.

Types of shade 

  • Natural shade includes shade from trees and hedges. Dense tree canopies provide the best shade.
  • Built shade includes buildings, shade sails, and awnings. Shade sails should have a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
  • Portable shade includes tents, umbrellas, and marquees. 

Quality shade

  • UV radiation can penetrate lower quality shade. As a general rule, the less blue sky you can see while under shade, the better protected you are from UV radiation.
  • UV radiation can reflect off surfaces such as concrete, sand and water. By using all the SunSmart behaviours you will have the best protection.

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

  • UPF indicates how much UV radiation (both UVA and UVB). The higher the UPF rating, the more UV radiation will be blocked. 
UPF range % UV radiation absorbed Protection 
40 - 50+ 97.5> Excellent protection 
25 - 39  95.9 - 97.4 Very good protection 
15 - 24 93.3 - 95.8  Good protection 


Tips for developing high quality shade

  • Consider the climate and environment. In cooler climates, position shade so it will collect heat from the sun in winter.
  • Make the space comfortable for people to use year round. Shade will also provide shelter from rain and wind. 
  • Ensure the shade reduces UV radiation by protecting against direct and indirect UV radiation. UPF 

When the Ultraviolet Index (UVI) is 3 and above, for the best protection use all five SunSmart behaviours – Slip into clothing, Slip into shade, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Wrap on sunglasses.


For more information: 

Shade guidelines

Shade funding application

Shade information for councils 

Shade trees for schools - North Island

Shade trees for schools - South Island

Use the Sun Protection System 3

More SunSmart behaviours

Slop on sunscreen
Use the Sun Protection System 4

Slap on a hat