Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Whakapapa access restricted

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 reject Westpower proposal, seek Waitaha protection

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

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.


Kayakers resist Kaituna access threat

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

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

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