All posts by Kevin England

Kayaking at Level 1.

Well done New Zealand!
Today (8th June 2020) Government has reported that there are no active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand. Because of this we will move to Level 1 at midnight tonight! That is a great achievement and the “Team of 5 Million” deserves a big pat on the back for pulling this off!

The restrictions on group activities are now lifted, and life can essentially go back to normal. However, let’s be mindful that some fo us may be out of practice, so take it easy-don’t go throwing yourself at Class V because just because you were paddling like a legend at the end of the summer!

Also, let’s try and make sure we learn from this pandemic experience:

Play it safe.

Be kind!

The Government is still asking us to be mindful of washing hands, good hygiene, cough or sneeze into your elbow and try to keep a track of where you go and who you see (for clubs, pleas just keep a record of who goes on the club trips).

Importantly, we all need to be conscious of helping to support local businesses who may have been economically hard hit by the lockdown. So, what can we do as kayakers? Get out there and go kayaking!!!! But it’s more than that-make sure that you stop for fish and chips on the way home or buy a new sprayskirt or a new throw-bag at your local kayaking shop!

Thanks to everyone for playing their parts in this pandemic response.

Kayaking at level 2

Whitewater at Level 2

On Thursday (14th May) NZ will move into Level 2 Pandemic Alert. Whilst some lucky paddlers were able to get a whitewater fix during the Level 3 Alert over the past couple of weeks, for most of us the shift to Level 2 is likely to be our first chance to get back out on the water.

There is still a risk of community transmission of the virus, which means that we can’t simply go back to paddling as usual. So, please don’t rush into this, play it safe and follow these guidelines for whitewater paddling during the Level 2 Alert:

  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

Advice for clubs:

Small public gatherings are allowed at Level 2, so club activities can take place. However, please follow the rules above and create a documented safety plan including the following points:

  1. Use Sport New Zealand’s Touch Free Contact Register to record all group participants in club actuivities
  2. Participants should have no respiratory symptoms and should have had no contact with others with respiratory symptoms in the two weeks prior to the trip
  3. Four days after the trip, the Trip Leader should check with all trip participants for any respiratory symptoms and notify everybody on the trip if symptoms are observed.
  4. Disinfect any shared equipment in the same way as you would to prevent the spread of Didymo

Please be mindful that for many of us, we’ve not been out on the water for a while, so we may be out of practice. That means taking extra precautions around rescue provisions and general river safety.

 Use your common sense – don’t rush into this, play it safe and be kind!

Whitewater kayaking during a Level 3 Alert

Whitewater kayaking during a Level 3 Alert

Over the past few weeks we’ve all been itching to get out on the water and I commend everyone for resisting that temptation. Sport NZ have released their activity specific guidance, which states that kayaking during the Level 3 Alert is permitted. However, this needs to be done sensibly, within your bubble and with no risk of hurting yourself or of needing rescue.

The most important principle is to maintain your bubble and stay safe, so that you do not need rescuing or medical care. You can do activities that are local, which you can do safely, and which do not involve interacting with other people, or equipment touched by other people. 

So, if you need to go out on whitewater rivers (whilst in Level 3 Alert) please follow these simple rules:

  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

Now is not the time to take up new activities, push your limits, or expose yourself or your bubble to any risk. 

Use your common sense – be kind, stay local, stay safe.

Kia kaha river people.

Kev England, 

President, Whitewater NZ.


How far can I drive to go paddling?

You should drive as short a distance as you can, and still do the activity. You must stay local. For example a river, lake or a beach 45 minutes away.

What sort of activities can I do?

You can drive to a nearby area to go for a paddle, swim, ride, walk or run, as long as these activities do not break your bubble or cause a risk of needing rescue or medical care

Who can I do paddle with?

You can paddle by yourself (flat water paddling) or with people from your extended bubble. If other people are present, maintain at least 2m separation.

Covid-19 update 13 April 2020

At today’s 1pm Covid-19 briefing we heard that on Thursday (16th April) the Government will release guidance on what the shift from level 4 Alert to level 3 Alert will look like in terms of recreation as well as other activities. WWNZ has been advocating for sensible access to our whitewater resources via our relationship with Recreation Aotearoa and Sport NZ, who have a direct line of communication with Government. We won’t know what the Level 3 Alert (or 2 and 1) rules and regulations look like until Thursday, but please be aware that whitewater enthusiasts are part of the dialogue and our unique requirements are being considered.

We will update you with advice and guidance on Level 3 Alert activities as soon as we can. For now, please be patient, stay in your bubble and be safe!

Lockdown photocomp

Attention all WWNZ members. We have decided to run a photo competition to try and inspire those of you who are in lockdown at the moment dreaming of WW kayaking.

We are calling for people to submit their favourite shots. You can enter as many times as you want.

We are asking that you share your photo’s to

Along with a high definition image you should identify the person who took the photo, the paddler(s), the river and a caption to accompany the image. The criteria the judges will be looking for will be quality images that portray excitement within our sport.

The board will all vote for the photos submitted and the eventual winners will be contacted and published on social media.

By entering this competition you are giving WWNZ permission to use your photograph in the future. In this instance we will always credit the photographer.

First place $150
Second place $100
Third place $50

If you are not a member of WWNZ and you wish to enter this competition feel free to join at it is $10 to join. All winners will need to show that they are a current member of WWNZ. Photos are due by 5pm Friday 17 April 2020. Go well

Tongariro release postponed

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown situation this month’s scheduled Tongariro release has been postponed.

Whitewater NZ has negotiated with Genesis Energy to postpone this release until later in the year, when we will be able to get out and enjoy it! 

The future release date has not been confirmed yet and Whitewater NZ will endeavour to establish a suitable date that works for as many paddlers as possible.

Stay home and stay safe everyone!

Covid-19. An update from the President. 23-03-2020.

Things change fast. We are now in even stranger, tougher times. As of today, 23-03-2020, there are 102 cases of Corona virus, or Covid-19, infection in New Zealand. Community transferred cases have been detected and this means that the virus is now not contained. We are now in a Level 3 Alert status and at midnight on Wednesday (11:59pm, Wednesday 25-03-2020) we will enter a Level 4 Alert Status, which is likely to be in place for at least 4 weeks. Please see for all the facts, rules, regulations and advice. 

Our Prime Minister stated in her speech today that “We are all now preparing as a nation to go into self-isolation in the same way we have seen other countries do. Staying at home is essential.”  

What does this mean for us?

  • New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of those in your households.
  • People can still go for a walk or exercise and enjoy nature, but must keep a 2m distance from people at all times.
  • Food will always be available – production will continue, distribution will continue, supermarkets will continue.
  • Medicines will always be available, healthcare for those that need it will be available, and usual financial support, like benefits, will continue as normal.
  • All actions must be solitary, and people should only spend time with those they are in self-isolation with, and keep distance from all others at all times.

WWNZ advises that all club activities and paddling in groups should cease. 

Whitewater kayaking can be a hazardous activity, which is made safe by the group you are paddling with. As such, whitewater kayaking should not be undertaken during the Level 4 Alert, unless your river trip group is solely within your household group. 

Whitewater kayaking alone should not be attempted. 

For individuals whose sanity requires that they simply must get in a kayak and go for a float, solo flatwater kayaking or ocean surfing is OK, just make sure that you absolutely adhere to the <2m distancing rule.

To those that read my message on Friday (20-03-2020), I hope you started to make contact with people who you’ve shared whitewater experiences with and had a laugh with them? Although, I hope you DIDN’T go out and cram 7 people in a shuttle vehicle?

Self-isolation means that you can’t go and see people like you usually would, so make sure you talk regularly with family and whānau. Check up on people who you know might be vulnerable. 

Remember, as river people, we’re well suited to dealing with adverse conditions, so take advantage of your inbuilt resilience and be strong. Help others to be strong too.

Kia kaha river people.

Kev England

President, Whitewater NZ.