Shannon Mast was nominated by Justin Venable, Hamish Darling and Mick Hopkinson.
Bio provided by Justin Venable.
Shannon Mast (aka Daniel, Moisty, or Mzungu Mchafu, amongst other nefarious handles) is a quiet phenomenon. Aussie born, but a true river gypsy by nature, he may have suffered some low-grade hypoxic brain injury as a grom from long hold-downs in the heavy swell of the South Australian coast. Regardless, he has a remarkable ability to not seem to need to breathe very often in violent churning waters – a valuable skill as a kayaker, or perhaps he’s just part amphibian.
Shannon is a humble visionary – contemplating (and achieving) adventure possibilities where others overlook or dismiss as too hard. He is consistently redefining and reapplying novel or fusion techniques to realise next-generation objectives. Take the mighty Tuke gorges descent for example – bringing canyoning skills and technical portaging principles to the most committed of river gorge environments requires confidence in your team, exceptional problem solving abilities, a penchant for masochism, and overzealous faith in the frictional coefficient of sticky rubber river shoes on slimy wet rocks.
Shannon is a committed lifelong hungry dirtbagger, eschewing comfort and instead focusing on bold missions – both on major overseas expeditions to some of the most remote corners out there, and also widely here in our own amazing backyard. He is capable, safe, selfless, and not afraid to suffer in the name of a good adventure – but always with a smile.
He is full of wry, self-deprecating, (flat and) dry humour; fluent in many languages, or at least exceptionally talented in communication with pointing and smiling in a pinch. People can sense his good nature and often want to help – so he’s generally quite useful to have on a team when you are many days of difficult travel from civilization, low on food and facing an uncertain outcome. Mainly because he’s pretty skinny and easy to steal food from. He stays cool and does not panic when it all looks very grim (trust me, I’ve experienced very grim with Moisty), he mostly just sleeps and laconically smiles his way out of trouble.
Shannon is very supportive and generous in sharing his skills and passion with future kayakers – a NZ Kayak School instructor for several years, now part-time tutor at Tai Poutini Polytechnic, and has mentored several keen young boaters to become some of the best kayakers out there. Shannon is inherently kind, always on lookout for the wellbeing of all in the group, regardless of ability. He is community-minded, having organised the Nevis Bluff Freeride event this past year.
Oh yeah, he’s also had a heck of a last 12 months – along with the incredibly capable and perpetually cheerful team of Rata, Phil, Greg and Sam – who successfully probed Churn Gorge on Burke, Tuke gorges, and the crown jewel of NZ kayaking – Waitaha source to sea. He’s also previously helped rally the first crews into ultra-classic first descents of Upper West Waikaia, Boundary Creek, Kakapo River, probing big waterfalls in Fiordland and the foreboding and powerful Windhover Gorge on the Waitaha, amongst others.
The future is chocker full of many other marginal, yet spectacular pioneering / exploratory objectives for Shannon and his team. Just don’t be surprised by his niche choice of music on the way to the put-in.
Shannon was unanimously voted as Paddler of the Year 2022, at Whitewater New Zealand’s AGM.
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The Hutt River Te Awa Kairangi Whitewater Festival was a huge success this year. It truly was a whitewater festival including kayaks, rafts, duckies, and packrafts. The events raised over $100 for Whitewater New Zealand and a few dollars for the Hutt Valley Canoe Club.
The kayakers raced down the gorge on Saturday, and while the races were happening in the gorge, the packrafters took on the lower grade 2 section to avoid all those mischief-making hardshells. Following on from the races everyone got together at the HVCC clubhouse for a BBQ in the afternoon and then moved the party to Kaitoke Regional Park.
On Sunday a large social group bought all the river crafts together for a social float through the gorge. We sent the racers down first who then waited for the social paddlers at the finish line so everyone could paddle out together.
After the races were all done, we hosted a prizegiving back at the HVCC Club Rooms. The HVCC has been hosting this event for over 50 years. 1971 is the oldest date on the trophy but there is reason to believe it has been going on longer than that. Congratulations to winners below will have their names added to the trophy:
Team Event: “All Over the Show” John Snook, Dai Edwards, and Warren Cheetham for winning Saturday’s team race.
Women’s individual race: Dina Fieman
Men’s Individual race: Liam Hopkinson
Thank-you to everyone that volunteered and made donations including:
Mark it on your calendar for next year Fri. 30 Sept. – Sun. 2 Oct. 2022.
Thanks to everyone that came out and I hope to see you there next year.
These photos and more from the day were taken by Mike Birch and can be found here.
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Whitewater NZ is joining GreenPeace, Forest & Bird, Environmental Defence Society, and Choose Clean Water in their call for ‘under one’ pollution limit for freshwater in Aotearoa. Five of New Zealand’s leading environmental organisations are urging the Government to defend native species and human health by setting a nitrate pollution limit under one milligram per litre for waterways.A nitrate limit, which will define the maximum amount of nitrate pollution allowed in rivers, was left out of last year’s freshwater standards, in-line with industry demands. The limit is now being reassessed by the Ministry for the Environment and Minister Parker.
The major causes of nitrate pollution are a huge increase in dairy cows and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use since 1990.Kev England of Whitewater NZ says “for people that spend time in NZ’s freshwater it’s absolutely vital that we can do this without the risk of getting sick. In many of our mountain rivers the water is drinkable and a sheer pleasure to experience. However, in the lower parts of those same valleys the water is often polluted with fertilisers, cow poo and other toxins. Setting an achievable target of “under one” is a sensible first step in maintaining New Zealander’s right to clean water”.
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The 2021 Whitewater NZ AGM will be held on 25th August at 8pm and we hope to see you there!
Members will receive more details via e-mail, so if you’re not a member then click here and join!!
We’re looking for nominations for three new Board members, so if you’re keen to help out and put something back into the whitewater community of Aotearoa, then please nominate yourself!
We’re also looking for nominations for “Paddler of the Year”, so if you know of someone that has gone the extra yard and showed exemplary efforts towards helping our rivers and our sport, then please nominate them. Nominations should explain why you think this person deserves the award!
Please send Board and Paddler of the Year nominations to [email protected]
We look forward to seeing you at the AGM!
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Show your love of rivers and support for Whitewater NZ by wearing one of these super cool new T-Shirts!!!
Every purchase will help Whitewater NZ to keep our rivers wild and free.
We’ve partnered with a cool wee clothing company called Little Yellow Bird (Welly based) who produce ethically made organic cotton clothes that look and feel great.
Go on…buy one or two for yourself and why not get one as a gift for your shuttle driver!!?
Mens t-shirts are here.
Women’s t-shirts are here.
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Todd Henry advises, “There is currently no river access allowed other than the scheduled Genesis releases on the Whakapapa/Whakapapanui River at the moment. Please be respectful of this.”
The Landcorp/Pamu farm at Taurewa has just passed into Iwi hands as part of the treaty settlement. The Iwi are working through existing formal agreements for access over the farm. Two agreements have been approved; the Genesis Recreational Release (scheduled Whakapapa River Releases by WWNZ) and use of the farm for the T42 race (due to safety concerns about using the main road).
Other informal access arrangements are not being allowed at the moment. They are turning away anyone trying to access without arrangement, including recreational users. The farm manager has expressed that in about a month they will be open to formalising arrangements.
There is a concern that if too many people try to get access without an access arrangement in place then this may jeopardise future access and relationships with the local Iwi. So please spread the word. The team at Whitewater NZ are currently working on this issue and will keep you all in the loop.
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Whitewater NZ and community representatives recently met with the Lake Rotoiti scenic reserves board where we proposed an access track through the scenic reserve land on river left. For details, see Kaituna River access issue page.
Updated 1 May 2019: The Bay of Plenty Regional Council Harbourmaster, Peter Buell, has issued a directive to close a section of Pari Tūkino (Gnarly Gorge) on the Kaituna river from 1 May 2019 until 1 November 2019. For details, see Kaituna River access issue page or Facebook.
Previously: The threat of a legal closure to the Kaituna River lower gorges has raised its head again. The Bay of Plenty Regional Harbour Master has announced his intention to close Awesome, Gnarly and Smokey gorges, effective 1 May 2019.
We see this as the local harbourmaster breaking new ground and an overreach of the legislative powers in the Maritime Transport Act. We are concerned about the precedent this decision sets for future management of New Zealand’s whitewater resources.
WWNZ had a last minute opportunity to present the Bay of Plenty Regional Council with our views on the situation and you can read these in our letter to BOPRC on 20 March (PDF). The council was receptive to our point of view and have given us a window of opportunity to negotiate an alternative solution to the recommended closure.
The process from this point involves facilitated mediation between multiple stakeholders with interests in the lower Kaituna Gorges. Our voice will be strongly represented and we will be doing everything we can to reach a tangible solution.
While these discussions are happening, we are asking paddlers to cease using the private land on river right to portage Gnarly gorge. In practical terms, that means ceasing paddling Awesome, Gnarly, and Smokey until the legal access can be resolved. We respect the position of our negotiating partners and we are hopeful that a show of good faith on the part of our community will assist in finding a resolution.
See our Kaituna River access issue page and Facebook for additional information.
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The wild and scenic Mokihinui River is to be added to Kahurangi National Park. The Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced yesterday that 64,400 hectares of conservation land in the Mokihinui River catchment on the West Coast north of Westport, including 15 km of riverbed, is being added to Kahurangi National Park. This will protect the river and surrounding landscape and wildlife for future generations. Against the submissions of kayakers and conservation groups Meridian was granted resource consent for an 80m hydro dam that would have drowned the entire lower Mokihinui section. After protests and appeals to the Environment Court, Meridian shelved the dam proposal citing economics. The whitewater from Mokihinui forks down is an entertaining class III-IV run, while the upper section from Johnson-Allan confluence is a challenging, remote run. Both sections are accessed by helicopter; DOC Western South Island Director of Operations Mark Davies advises existing air access arrangements will continue. A review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan to account for the land addition will unfold over the next few years and will provide kayakers an opportunity to ensure continued access to this treasured river.
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The Whitewater NZ Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held via an online forum on Wednesday 29 August. The online approach was generally regarded as a positive development supporting solid representation and minimising travel. Discussion covered topics such as didymo, pack-rafting, canyoning, and WWNZ financials. Trevor James was voted Canoeist of the Year. A new board was elected. Read AGM Minutes (PDF).
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Kayakers have rejected Westpower’s proposal for a trust in mitigation for a proposed dam on on the Waitaha river. Eighteen months ago Whitewater NZ, FMC, Forest & Bird, and numerous individuals submitted to DoC on Westpower’s proposals. Last month, DoC wrote to submitters (PDF) describing additional mitigation measures including a proposed “Westpower Tai Poutini Kayaking Trust” and two additional “no take” days. However, after consideration, Whitewater NZ has responded to DOC (PDF) rejecting Westpower’s proposals as “irrelevant to the myriad matters that demand utmost consideration by the Minister under the Conservation Act.” Whitewater NZ President Nigel Parry wrote, “Morgan Gorge is an[sic] stunningly unique zone of exceptionally pristine character, and serves as a beacon of inspiration and place of reverence for the whitewater kayaking community, both nationally and internationally. The Waitaha river remains one of the last unmodified wild rivers in Aotearoa for the vast majority of its course – and as such, represents a prime example of our shared taonga awa. Our collective duty, and DOC’s specific fundamental task, is to preserve and protect such places for the use and enjoyment of ourselves and future generations.”
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A possum control operation is planned for the Tutaekuri area over the summer. The operators advise “there will be no 1080 risk to people who drink water from streams and rivers in the area following the operation. Biodegradable 1080 is highly soluble and does not persist in water or soil. Although 1080 baits can enter waterways, such as rivers and streams during aerial applications, dilution will reduce 1080 quickly to undetectable concentrations in water.” Warning signs will be posted and baits are to be dropped clear of the Ngaruroro River (from confluence with the Taruarau River down to confluence with the Omahaki Stream) and the Tutaekuri River. Please refer to the fact sheet (PDF) for a map and additional details. Any questions can be sent to Andrew Buchanan [email protected] or 0275 141 411.
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Graham Charles describes the first descent of the Mungo River (West Coast) in the April edition of Air New Zealand’s in-flight magazine Pacific Wave.
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The TDC now has a useful real-time river flow map available http://www.tdc.govt.nz/water/riverflow.html.
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Updated links to missing Auckland University Canoe Club website and new Waimanui Canoe Club website. Fixed broken links on News page (thanks Gary). Changed What’s new? page to News archive to more clearly define its content (Thanks Tony).
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Added an article about TranzRail’s plan.
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Added a Shotover picture to the Whitewater Gallery. Added email link for Open Canoe Newsletter. Added bio for Robin Rutter-Baumann. Added link to Victoria Canoe Club on Clubs page.
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Trouble with jetboats? Have a look at our Safety / Accidents and Incidents article and form on the Safety page. Added several images of the Clarence River. Fixed misdirected links on NZRCA Home page, fixed broken links on What’s new? page, Added contact information.
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Added ‘NZ Canoeing’ page describing the official newsletter of the NZRCA. Added What’s new? for previous news items, added Access, Safety and Education pages. Added new ‘hollow arrow’ to designate offsite links. Added a hot picture from the Tekapo. Added a page for other organisations (Slalom, Canoe Polo, Sea Kayaking, Rodeo / Freestyle, Wildwater, Open Canoe).
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Please note the change to the postal address for the NZRCA. It is now PO Box 284, Wellington.
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The results from the NZFKC selection rodeo held on 27/28 March, and the dates of the next selection events are online at the NZFKC site.
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Some images from the Pukaki Release on Sunday 28 are now online in the new Whitewater Gallery section.
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Added articles on Amenity Values and Water Conservation Orders, Membership page with a Club Membership form, and changed the visual appearance of context headers and page footer information.
Added About the NZRCA, List of Executive and Officers, Conservation page, How to make a submission, Example submission (Clarence), link to AUCC and more.
You can now click here for a list of canoe and kayak clubs in New Zealand.
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