Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Awa Aroha Fund

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Whitewater NZ is so proud to be announcing our new Awa Aroha fund.

This fund will be used to support paddlers across Aotearoa who are involved in serious whitewater incidents.

The fund’s purpose is to support river crew after a serious river incident by bridging the gap between victim support services and the individuals accessing government funded mental health services. There’s often at least a 6 month wait (it varies by DHB) to access public support if someone is struggling, and we want to support people during the in between, and provide access to group debriefing sessions with vetted professionals. We don’t think a six month wait time is good enough, so we want to bridge this gap.

Eligibility is direct involvement in a fatal or near fatal incident, in a river environment, in NZ, while participating in whitewater paddle craft activities in a recreational capacity.

People will not have to be a member of Whitewater NZ to receive this support. You can read the full policy here.

To fundraise for this new support, Whitewater NZ is hosting a series of fundraising film nights, and appealing for donations.

Now we’re not a big organisation with bottomless pits of money, this support won’t be a long term solution, but something to bridge the gap between accessing publicly funded support services available in NZ.

We would really appreciate the clubs support in promoting this event to your community, and helping us to provide services to paddlers who need it. You can book tickets here.

Whitewater NZ Photo Competition 2023

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

Submissions for our annual photo competition are now open!

How to Enter:

Capture the Thrill and submit your entry via Google form by 15 November 2023. Include your name, the paddler(s) name, a brief description of the photo, and where it was taken.


  • First Place: $150
  • Second Place: $100
  • Third Place: $50

Competition Rules:

  • You must be an individual member of WWNZ OR a member of an affiliated club to enter. If you are not a member of WWNZ and wish to enter, feel free to join here – membership is only $10.
  • Each member can submit up to 10 of their best photos.
  • Submissions must be original, high-resolution images, up to 10MB per photo.
  • By entering, you grant Whitewater NZ the right to use your photo, with proper credit given to the photographer.
  • Deadline for submissions is 15 November 2023.
  • Winners will be contacted via the email address used to submit the photo, and announced on our website and social accounts.
  • The winners from the competition will be submitted to the FMC 2024 photo competition as WWNZ entries. More details:

Judging Criteria:

The WWNZ Board will vote for the top 10, with the top 3 chosen by popular vote of the members on our social media channels.

If you have any questions, reach out to us at [email protected].

Paddler of the Year 2023

Monday, October 9th, 2023

Nominations for the Whitewater NZ Paddler of the Year 2023 are open!

If you know someone who deserves to be recognised for their dedication, skill and contributions to our rivers and sport, email your nomination(s) along with a short blurb (max 200 words) outlining why they deserve to win to [email protected].

Nominations are due by 15 November 2023. The WWNZ Board will then curate all nominations and the winner will be chosen by popular vote of the members on our social media channels.

Happy Paddling!

Freshwater gold clam (Corbicula fluminea)

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

MPI has classified Freshwater Gold Clam as an invasive species in NZ Waterways.

This freshwater mollusc (also known as Asian gold clam) was discovered along a stretch of the Waikato River in May 2023. Biosecurity New Zealand is working with iwi and other partners to prevent the spread of the clam.

Remember to CHECK, CLEAN, DRY between waterways.

Risk to NZ from the freshwater gold clam

The freshwater gold clam is native to eastern Asia and is widely established in North and South America and Europe.

These clams reproduce rapidly and form large populations that can clog water-based infrastructure such as electricity generation plants, irrigation systems, and water treatment plants. They are filter feeders that can potentially compete with native species for food. We do not yet know how this species will respond in New Zealand conditions.

Overseas, this clam has proved difficult to control and eradication has never been achieved.


  • Take a photo and note the location.
  • Report it – freephone 0800 80 99 66 or use the online form at 
  • Don’t move it – leave it where you found it.

Source and more information available here: MPI

Paddler of the Year 2022: Shannon Mast

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Shannon Mast was nominated by Justin Venable, Hamish Darling and Mick Hopkinson.

[Shannon Mast paddling Boundary Creek]


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.

[Shannon paddling the main drop of the Motatapu river main branch, at the Motatapu Open Day 2021]


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.


Hutt River Te Awa Kairangi Whitewater Festival

Monday, December 13th, 2021

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.

One whitewater kayaker crashing into another kayaker

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

Team of four men standing together holding trophy shield they have just won  Two men holding trophies and celebrating together outside

Thank-you to everyone that volunteered and made donations including:

  • Hutt Valley Canoe Club and Marty Naplawa for organizing the team race and BBQ.
  • Nigel Parry for securing a no-take at the Kaitoke Weir with the Wellington Regional Council.
  • Martin Robertson for organising the packrafters and securing camping.
  • Georgia Bailey for her amazing guitar, mandolin, and singing skills at the bonfire.
  • Wellington Rafting Company for helping with safety.
  • Double Vision Brewery for donating some prizes.
  • Todd Henry for organising individual races.
  • All of the volunteers, racers, and participants who helped with safety, organising, BBQing and everything else. We could not have done it without you.

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.

Todd Henry


These photos and more from the day were taken by Mike Birch and can be found here.

Whitewater NZ joins the call for “under one” pollution limit for our freshwater.

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

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”.

Marnie Prickett of Choose Clean Water says, “Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, the Environmental Defence Society, and Choose Clean Water are united in backing the science, which is clear and robust. The absolute maximum nitrate pollution that should be allowed is less than one milligram per litre.”
Forest & Bird Freshwater Advocate Annabeth Cohen says, “We all want to be able to look out over our local rivers and see them flourishing with life: full of native fish and insects, and surrounded by bush and birdsong.

“We urge the Government to accept the scientific consensus that ecosystem health isn’t possible if nitrate pollution in waterways exceeds 1 mg/L.

“This is a conservative standard of freshwater quality, despite what the agri-industry would have New Zealand believe. We need to stay under one, just to ensure the river can support life,” says Ms Cohen.

Marnie Prickett of Choose Clean Water says, “It’s not a big ask to set a nitrate limit under one. Many regional councils already manage nitrate pollution to more stringent levels. Horizons Regional Council is managing to 0.44 mg/L, while Hawkes Bay Regional Council set their limit at 0.8 mg/L.

“The Government will fail to meet its own freshwater standards without a nitrogen pollution limit of under one,” says Ms Prickett.

Greenpeace Aotearoa senior campaigner Steve Abel says, “With emerging research showing links between nitrate contamination and health effects including bowel cancer and premature births, a precautionary approach to human health also depends on nitrate contamination in water being under one.”

The current health limit of nitrate in drinking water of 11.3 mg/L is over 10 times higher than 0.87 mg/L, the nitrate level linked to increased bowel cancer risk in a major Danish study published in 2018.

“We’re part of nature so it makes sense that human and ecosystem health are aligned on acceptable nitrate levels in water. A nitrate limit under 1mg/L responds to what the science tells us about water that’s safer for rivers and people,” says Mr Abel.

The Environmental Defence Society Chief Executive, Gary Taylor says, “It’s important the Government and New Zealand understand that a nitrate concentration of less than 1 mg/L does not mean pristine. It is the environmental bottom line required to prevent periphyton growth which kills off fish and invertebrates in freshwater systems.

“The Ministry for the Environment itself recommended last year that nitrates not be allowed to exceed 1 mg/L, as did the majority of the Science and Technical Advisory Group advising on the Fresh Water Standards.”

Most New Zealand rivers already have a nitrate pollution reading of under one. The four environmental organisations say the Government needs to ensure the health of these rivers is protected, while bringing back the health of heavily polluted rivers.

“The science is clear — it’s crucial the Government listens to the experts and brings in a nitrogen limit of under one to keep Aotearoa healthy for generations to come,” they say.
Note: The nitrate pollution limit of 1 mg/L is measured as dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN). This was the advice of the Government’s Science and Technical Advisory group in the development of the recent freshwater reforms.

Notice of AGM

Monday, June 28th, 2021

AGM via Zoom on Wednesday 25th August at 8pm.

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!

Official WWNZ T-Shirts!

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

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.


Whakapapa access restricted

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

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.


Kayakers resist Kaituna access threat

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

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.


Mokihinui River protected

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

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.


WWNZ AGM 2018 outcomes

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

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).

Whitewater NZ

Kayakers reject Westpower proposal, seek Waitaha protection

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

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.”


1080 drop at Ngaruroro River

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

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.


Whitewashed on the Mungo

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


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.

Tasman District Council adds river flow information

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


The TDC now has a useful real-time river flow map available

Site maintenance

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


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).

Quarrying the Clarence

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


Added an article about TranzRail’s plan.

Shotover picture

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


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.

Accidents and Incidents, Clarence River images

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


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.

Access, Safety

‘NZ Canoeing’ contents page, site maintenance

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


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).

NZRCA has a new postal address

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


Please note the change to the postal address for the NZRCA. It is now PO Box 284, Wellington.

Rodeo results online

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020


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.