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  • Ngaruroro River Water Conservation Order

    November 29th, 2020
    https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/ngaruroro-river-water-conservation-order

    Please donate here.

    After years of tireless efforts from Whitewater New Zealand and others, a Special Tribunal recommended that the Ngaruroro River in Hawkes Bay be protected by a Water Conservation Order (WCO). For those that aren’t familiar with WCO’s, this is the highest level of protection that a river can get in NZ and is meant to give everlasting protection to ensure a valley remains wild and free. River people, including kayakers, rafters, canoeists, packrafters, fly fishers, trampers, hunters, bird spotters, and conservationists from across the Country celebrated this decision. However, WWNZ’s lawyers took a closer look at the wording within the proposed Order and found that it didn’t really offer any protection at all! They were proposing to allow water abstraction from tributaries, there was no solid definition of such basic terms as damming, no controls on water contamination and it left the door wide open for developers to challenge it in the future. 

    WWNZ have appealed the original draft WCO (link is here) and proposed a new draft (link is here). We’re taking this fight to the Environment Court, so if you care about the future of whitewater and rivers in NZ please dig deep in your pockets and make a donation to help with our Court costs. Future generations deserve to experience wild and free rivers in NZ and we’re trying our best to provide the protection that our wild places deserve. Please help us.

    We’ve started a “give-a-little” campaign so you can donate to this cause and help us keep this special river wild and free:

    https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/ngaruroro-river-water-conservation-order

    If you’d like to know more about the fight so far, read on!

    Late in 2015 Whitewater NZ, along with the Zealand Fish and Game Council, Hawke’s Bay Fish and Game Council, Operation Patiki Ngāti Hori ki Kohupatiki, the Royal Forest and Bird Society of New Zealand and Jet Boating New Zealand, lodged an application for a Water Conservation Order (WCO) on the Ngaruroro River in Hawke’s Bay. The New Zealand Rivers Association (the professional body for rafters in New Zealand) also supported the application. Whitewater NZ particularly wanted to preserve the outstanding white water kayaking and rafting amenity and wild, scenic and natural characteristics of the river above Whanawhana, where there are two stunning multi-day white water runs in the upper river. This was part of Whitewater NZ’s on-going conservation strategy on behalf of paddlers throughout the country to help preserve some of the best white water runs in New Zealand for the future. The application and our conservation effort were strongly supported, and especially financially, by the Hawke’s Bay Canoe Club. 

    Hearings before a Special Tribunal were held for the river in two stages in 2017-18. Whitewater NZ presented its case as did clubs and paddlers from throughout New Zealand who submitted in support of the application. A draft WCO was recommended by the Special Tribunal in August 2019. The outstanding white water amenity and wild and scenic river values above Whanawhana were recognised in the draft WCO, with no damming on the mainstem but damming possible on tributaries. The outstanding jet boating, iwi and bird values in the river below Whanawhana were not recognised by the WCO. 

    The wording in the WCO designed to protect our values was very ambiguous and open to interpretation, permitting activities so long as their impacts were no more than minor. This could mean that any future applications for water takes in the tributaries and headwaters and dams for water storage could severely affect flows in reaches of the river down to Whanawhana.  This would not retain the flows and river processes that provide for our values, and we would have to defend the WCO whenever such situations arose.  In effect, the WCO recognised our values but did not protect them at all in a meaningful way. This decision used language that would also set a very poor precedent for future WCOs.

    As a result, Whitewater NZ decided to appeal this decision to the Environment Court seeking better clarity around protection of our white water values, and especially no damming provisions on the headwater tributaries and meaningful protection of water quality in the river, which is a key feature of the upper river runs. Other parties, such as the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, the NZ Winegrowers Association, NZ Beef and Lamb, Pernod Ricard (Multinational liquor manufacturer who profit from wine in Hawkes Bay) Federated Farmers and other development groups also appealed the decision, seeking to further weaken the Order and leave no restrictions on damming and water storage on the headwater tributaries.  

    Whitewater NZ have so far undertaken mediation facilitated by the Environment Court to see if the matters could be resolved without a full Environment Court Hearing. This was largely unsuccessful largely due to the opposition of the agricultural sector and the HBRC. We are continuing to work towards resolving a number of issues, including with local tangata whenua, who also object to the imposition of a WCO. Much of the land on the true right bank in the upper river run down to Kuripapango is Maori Trust land (the rest is administered by the Department of Conservation (DoC)) and tangata whenua want to be the primary custodians to control this land and look after it and the river as kaitiaki (guardians). The Trusts already have a number of kawenata (land administration agreements) with DoC to look after and conserve their lands. We are developing a relationship with these Trusts to collectively look after the river.

    We now need to raise $35,000 to fund our appeal in the Environment Court. The Court date has been set down for early February. In the past we have been very fortunate to have the support of Fish and Game in such processes, but for various internal reasons they have withdrawn from the appeal. Forest and Bird have appealed the decision as it affects their values on the lower river, and also support us in the upper river as they have interests in the whio (blue duck) and native fish populations in the upper river. Thus, we are largely on our own. The funds are needed to provide legal representation and legal submissions at the Hearing.

    Thus, we are launching a fund-raising appeal to the wider kayaking and rafting community to support the Environment Court appeal. We would be most grateful to receive donations to the fund. Should the appeal not go ahead we would offer to return any donated funds should parties want that or retain the funds for other conservation work carried out by Whitewater NZ if you were happy with that. Please support us strongly in this matter if you are able. The chance to get WCOs on rivers only happens occasionally in New Zealand. The processes required to get them are long and expensive. Fish and Game would have spent about $750,000 so far on the Ngaruroro WCO. It would be great to complete this process and get a meaningful defensible WCO granted on the river after all our collective efforts.

    Please dig deep and help us to help keep this majestic river wild and free.

    https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/ngaruroro-river-water-conservation-order

    Flying in to the Upper Ngaruroro River.
    Catarafts on the Upper Ngaruroro Gorge.
  • Fitness for Kayaking – How can we help minimise injuries?

    November 11th, 2020
    The dreaded hike in is an awesome way to raise the heart rate. Photo, Kev England.

    With Daylight Savings kicking in and the weather starting to warm up, now is the ideal time for all of us to get out in a boat after work or during the weekend for our white water fix.

    Continuing on from our previous posts which focused on improving core strength, stability and developing the ABC’s of movement this week we are looking at how we can warm up effectively to help we can help minimise injuries and spend more time on the water this summer.

    How can we minimise injuries?

    Over this next section we will talk through some key concepts that when introduced should help to minimise the likelihood that an injury may occur.

    Effective Warm Ups

    How many times have you got on a river and made a mistake right at the start of the trip?! Well a warm-up prepares the body and mind for exercise and is thought to decrease the risk of injury during training and performance. A warm-up increases blood flow to the active tissues, increases body temperature, and allows the cardiovascular system to gradually increase from a resting to an active state.

    A warm-up should be specific to the sport, and should include a progression in exercise intensity, and mobilisation of the muscles that will be used during the activity. If you have a paddle into the main white water this is an ideal time to use to warm up or if you are straight into it then maybe you might need to do a land based warm up

    Warming Up using the “RAMP” Principle

    The “ RAMP” principle was developed as a framework to effectively plan warm-ups that would lead to the outlined objectives above. This is as follows

    R – Raise

    A – Activate

    M – Mobilise

    P – Potentiate

    Raise – This phase has the aim of elevating body temperature, hear rate and blood flow via low intensity activities

    Activate – This phase has the aim of stimulating or activating key muscle groups that will be used within the sport.

    Mobilise – This phase has the aim of actively working through a muscle through its range of motion

    Potentiate – This phase has the aim of improving effectiveness of the subsequent performance.

    What does a Generic On-Water Warm Up Look Like?

    Step 1 – 5 Minutes paddle easy on flat water
    Step 2 – 3 x 360 Circles on sweeps going left/ 3 x 360 Circles on sweeps going right

    Step 3 – Offside Edge 360 Circle Left/ Offside Edge 360 Circle Right

    Step 4 – 5 Minutes paddle medium to hard through gates

    Step 5 – Specific White Water Moves – Crossing Flow/ Surfing etc

    What does a Generic Off-Water Warm Up Look Like?

    Step 1 – 5 Minutes Gentle Run

    Step 2 – 4-6 Repetitions of 3 or 4 Full Body Activation Exercise  (Examples: Double Leg Bridge, Superman, Dynamic Plank or Single Leg Windmill)

    Step 3 – 6-8 Reptations of each Rotator Cuff Muscles using Theraband (Theraband Exercises)

    If you are getting on the water and only have an eddy to sit in before you go for it, trying some static edging exercises to feel connected to the boat before eddying out.

    Make sure to fully warm up before trying anything as stylish as Zac. Penman in this photo! Photo, Blake Hornblow

    Important Notes to remember:

    – The older you are, the longer it takes to warm up

    – The better shape you’re in, the longer it takes to warm up

    – The higher the intensity and technical requirement of the river, the better the warm up needed

    – The earlier in the morning, the better the warm up needed

    – The colder the weather or the water, the better the warm up needed

    These paddling fitness articles have been put together by Matt McKnight, Matt is professional Canoe Slalom coach and a keen whitewater paddler. 

  • Kayaking in NZ during a pandemic

    August 11th, 2020

    What does whitewater paddling in NZ look like at the various pandemic alert levels? 

    With today’s news about Covid-19 in the community we thought it would be worth reminding everybody about what whitewater paddling looks like at the different levels

    Level 4.

    1. Stay home. 
    2. Stay safe. 
    3. Do not go whitewater paddling. 

    Level 3. 

    1. Stay in your bubble. Avoid driving in a vehicle with anyone outside of your bubble. This will mean carefully planning shuttles and travel to and from a river
    2. Only paddle on your local rivers, that you know well and present no risks
    3. Paddle one grade below your normal level. That means Class V is NOT OK!
    4. Do not paddle on flooded rivers
    5. Paddle in small groups (up to 4 people) and maintain at least 2m distance from people outside your bubble. 
    6. Your choice of river should not be at all challenging for your level of experience. It should feel like a “walk in the park”
    7. Do not paddle on whitewater rivers alone
    8. Do not do overnight trips
    9. Do not share equipment
    10. Club activities should not take place

    Level 2:

    1. Transmission of the virus is most likely whilst travelling in a vehicle, so plan this carefully. Here are some things you can do to reduce the transmission risk while driving shuttles and driving to / from a river trip:
      1. Drive to and from the river by yourself or create an expanded “shuttle bubble”, and stick to this grouping whilst driving (and on the river, if possible)
      2. Drive with windows open
      3. Use good personal hygiene whilst sharing a car
    2. Stay well within your skill level to reduce the likelihood of needing emergency services.
    3. Paddle in small groups and try to keep your group exclusive 
    4. Keep a record of who you paddle with
    5. Use physical distancing wherever possible, particularly at the put-in and take-out, where other people may be present
    6. Avoid touching each other’s gear, and if this is not possible, disinfect or use hand sanitiser as quickly as possible
    7. Overnight trips are OK as long as 1m physical distancing is maintained
    8. If you are sick, have any respiratory, cold or flu-like symptoms, do not go paddling

    Level 1.

    1. Get out there
    2. Play it safe
    3. Be kind

    Together we will beat this!!!

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