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

Hamish Darling

President [email protected]
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...

Matt McKnight

Vice 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...

Kev Payne

Treasurer [email protected]
I live in the Taranaki region and was brought up in New Plymouth. My home for more than 30 years is the small town of Inglewood located under the shade of Mt Taranaki. Happily married for 35 years to Kyran, we have on...

Nicola Buisman

Communications Officer [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...

Jacqui Tizard

Conservation Officer [email protected]
I've always been a water person and grew up around the ocean swimming, diving, fishing, rock pooling and in the surf lifesaving scene. I found the rivers through Auckland University Canoe Club. I was hooked from my fi...

Maraea Grant

Board member
He uri tēnei nō Te Whakatōhea, Te Arawa me Pare Hauraki hoki. I tipu ake au ki Ōkere, kei kōnei te papa kāinga. I was born and raised in Ōkere Falls. I am a proud wahine Māori. I completed a Ba in Geography and Māori...

Josh Bahlman

Board member
I’ve been paddling since I was a teenager, and although I got stuck working in some non-paddling locations, I got back into paddling about 5 years ago. I wanted to show my two sons what I grew up with and what we have...

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...

Gabe Vink Wackernagel

Board Member
Ko Whare Papa tōku maunga, Ko Kawatere tōku awa, No Motueka ahua, Ko Pakeha tōku whanau, Ko Gabriel Tane tōku ingoa. Top of the south is home surrounded by forested mountains, clear rivers and stunning coastlines. B...

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