Sarah Spicer
Published on

Vaccine Passes play an important role within New Zealand’s traffic light system. Sports organisations need to put measures in place to protect their participants, and to ensure they are compliant with the COVID-19 Protection Framework, which may restrict the number of participants and/or require the presentation of ‘My Vaccine Passes’.

Enforcing Covid-19 Vaccine Passes:

Sports organisations first need to determine whether they will implement a Vaccine Pass requirement for entry to their site during their day-to-day running.

For indoor and outdoor sports organisations, requiring Vaccine Passes is optional and at the discretion of each organisation. The rules are:

  • If you require a Vaccine Pass, organisations can have up to 100 people in a defined space based on 1-metre distancing at a time; or
  • If you don’t require a Vaccine Pass, organisations can have up to 25 people in a defined space based on 1-metre physical distancing1

There are different rules for recreation facilities, please refer to Recreation at Red | Unite against COVID-19 ( for more information.

Sports organisations that do not require Vaccine Passes can accept both vaccinated and unvaccinated participants within the restricted numbers.

If your organisation requires participants to hold a Vaccine Pass, it is good practice to provide open and clear communication to participants (and parents or guardians) on the rules and requirements. This includes displaying clear signs that a Vaccine Pass is needed for entry to your site.


Checking Vaccine Passes:

A difficult aspect for sports organisations under the current rules is determining the restricted number of people an organisation can have onsite at one time.

The restricted number of people is per ‘defined space’ being a “single indoor or outdoor space separated from other spaces”2.  If your site has multiple defined spaces, the groups in separate defined spaces mustn’t mix3.

If your organisation is at a site where entry and exit can be controlled, visitors should be checked and included in the counted number. 

If your organisation is outside, on public property or in a large area where it will not be possible to check everyone then it is acceptable to carry out a spot check. What this might look like will be as is reasonable in the circumstances.


Accepting Vaccine Passes:

Sports organisations should only be accepting the official “My Vaccine Pass” issued by the New Zealand Government as proof of vaccination. A purple vaccination card, vaccination confirmation letter, or exemption card cannot be accepted in place of the My Vaccine Pass4.  It is important to understand that individuals that have a medical exemption can also be issued with a My Vaccine Pass. Only participants of 12 years and 3 months of age and over will need to hold a My Vaccine Pass.

It is up to each sports organisations to take a reasonable approach in their decision of how they will check My Vaccine Passes of their participants. The New Zealand Government offers a “NZ Pass Verifier” app to download for free. Alternatively, organisations can visually check participants' Vaccine Pass and if needed, also request an individual’s ID.

For more information about how this affects your sports organisation, please contact Sarah Spicer at


For more information, refer to:

Sport at Red | Unite against COVID-19 ( 

Gatherings at Red | Unite against COVID-19 ( 

Sport NZ’s Vaccine Pass factsheet 



Disclaimer: The information contained here is of a general nature and should be used as a guide only. Any reference to law is to New Zealand law and legislation. We recommend before acting on it, you consult your accountant or tax adviser.