About Us

Our Values

Rivers are our collective lifeblood: they are no less than the veins of the earth, metaphorically representing constant change, renewal and replenishment, providing our most precious vital resource: fresh water.

From a recreational perspective, rivers are the means of travel, exploration and adventure for a passionate group of people – whitewater river enthusiasts.

Paddle sports in particular have changed dramatically in recent decades with the advent of specialized designs and an uplift in skills and knowledge, which has enabled paddlers to descend increasingly challenging rivers. For the majority of whitewater enthusiasts, however, being on the river is perhaps more about the metaphysical aspect of exploration, and the shared enjoyment of a beautiful place with harmonious energy and like minded friends.

We celebrate and cherish the wilderness riparian environment for all of its myriad values: it is equally dynamic, intimidating, beautiful, peaceful and tranquil, savage and unforgiving.



Preserve New Zealand's rivers and lakes.



Ensure public access.



Promote safe, enjoyable canoeing.



Foster the kayaking community.

Current Board Members

Matt McKnight

President [email protected]
I have been involved in paddle sport from a young age dabbling in many different disciplines from Canoe Polo, Sprint and Whitewater before being heavily involved with Canoe Slalom. I raced for Team Ireland in C1 at Se...

Nicola Buisman

Vice President [email protected]
I came to whitewater through AUCC. Although I’m Auckland based now, I grew up in Christchurch so home is down south, on the better island. I rapidly switched from “Sorry I can’t kayak, I’ve got work” to “Sorry I can’t...

Hamish Darling

Board member
Whitewater has rapidly gone from a recreation to addiction for me. Cutting my teeth at the Otago University Canoe Club, I spend every chance I get to paddle both here and overseas until more recently moving to Livings...

Blake Luff

Board member
I started my kayaking life as a slalom grom under the watchful eye of Gordon Rayner in Alexandra as part of the Central Otago Whitewater club, this led into a lot of river paddling through high school and then later u...

Patrick De Jong

Board member
My motivation for joining the board of Whitewater NZ is to help protect the immense value of Aotearoa's rivers for our country, and to promote the voice of the whitewater community which often does not get the recogni...

Mike Dawson

Board member
I’ve spent the past 20+ years enjoying paddling around the world — River conservation, access and ensuring our rivers are clean and runnable for the next generation is hugely important to me. I’ve been fortunate enoug...

Patrick Clissold

I grew up kayaking as a child in Wales and am now in my 30th year of kayaking! I've kayaked all over the world and seen how life in and around the river differs to different people . I moved to New Zealand in 2015 an...

Regional Ambassadors

Max Rayner, Otago/ Southland

My name is Max and I am the Whitewater NZ ambassador for the Otago/Southland region. I am 24 years old and work as a civil engineer in Queenstown. I grew up in Alexandra where I learned to paddle with my family and th...

Simon Rutherford, Nelson/Marlborough

RUDDERS “The man”. Simon is our Nelson/ Marlborough ambassador and it’s fair to say there is a lot of love for this guy. “I started kayaking when I realised I needed another pursuit that wasn't based around man on man...

Kazuto Kora (Kaz), Auckland

I started paddling when I joined Auckland University Canoe Club back in 2013 and heavily involved in the organisation and operation of the club ever since. Auckland has a very large and active whitewater community wit...

Robert Collister, Okere Falls

Most people call me Rob, I have been kayaking almost non stop for the better part of a decade. I am originally from South Canterbury where I studied outdoor education at Aoraki. I became hooked on kayaking after some ...

Soph Mulder, Murchison, Buller

Soph ‘Steezy Mum’ Mulder our Buller Regional Ambassador. “My background is mainly in white water kayak instruction with some dabbling in raft guiding, adventure boating and racing. I’ve been based at the NZ Kayak Scho...

Barny Young, Southern West Coast

Barnaby ’The Blessing’ Young. @barnyyoung is our West Coast Ambassador. You usually hear this man before you see him but he is passionate about kayaking and protecting the beautiful rivers on the Best Coast where he r...

Luke Kirner, Northland

“Kia ora koutou. My name is Luke Kirner and I am the WWNZ representative for the winterless north. I grew up in Golden Bay and went on to study Whitewater (and did some outdoor degree thing) at CPIT (now ARA) in Chris...

Sam Milne, Canterbury

“I grew up in North Canterbury and learned to kayak on the Hurunui River. Paddling became life for me when I founded Canterbury Kayaking in 2012. I now spend the majority of my summers on the Hurunui & Waimakariri...

Boyd Benton, Taranaki

I remember talking to a guy in Hawaii about kayaking off Huka Falls, at the time that sounded like fun, I'd never been in a kayak before. This seeded a journey with the UCCC for a number of years learning in the cold ...


Whitewater NZ is affiliated with the NZ Canoe Federation and the International Canoe Federation (ICF).

Furthermore we are affiliated member of Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) and Water Safety New Zealand. In addition we work closely with the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council.

Whitewater NZ is proud to work closely with our affiliate Packrafting Association of New Zealand (PRANZ) and also to have number of regional clubs affiliated to us.

Whitewater NZ publishes regular news via e-mail to members and on our website and social channels regarding whitewater issues.

Contact Details

Ensors Place,
Waikuku Beach,
New Zealand