Kaikoura Earthquake – Take care on the river and let us know any changesFebruary 11, 2020
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck North Canterbury in the early morning of Monday 14 November has caused some dramatic changes to our landscapes.
Huge landslides have fallen into some of our North Canterbury rivers such as the Clarence, where a large landslide dam backed up a large volume of water before breaching several hours later. The extent of earthquake damage to the Clarence and other rivers in the region is not yet clear, and with decreased land stability in some areas, rainy weather, and potential for large aftershocks, it is possible that further changes to rivers may yet occur.
Please take utmost care when you’re out paddling over the next few weeks as rapids and other river features may have changed unexpectedly. This may mean taking things slower on your own peer group paddling trips, or scouting out rivers you think may have changed before taking less skilled groups of paddlers down.
Whitewater NZ would also love to hear from you if you’ve seen any changes in rivers on your paddling trips (or if you’ve run a river and can confirm it’s not been affected by the earthquakes). If you have anything to share drop us a line at [email protected] and we can help share information on current paddling conditions with our community.
The Endless Summer 2016-2017
Check out the amazing series of whitewater events planned for this summer, from Christmas at the Kaituna to the Okere Falls Champions Race & Andy Duff Memorial Race, to Wairoa Extreme Race, Bullerfest and Citroën Extreme Race, plus slalom and rafting events. See the attached infographic for details.
Kayakers frustrated by Mangahao release failure
Kayakers from all over the North Island were looking forward to the Mangahao River dam release scheduled for Saturday 18 March, after many years of non-releases, ostensibly to repair the dam gate. Unfortunately at 8am on Saturday the dam operator informed Whitewater NZ that the gate failed to open when required. Unlike the weather (rain events are also problematic for Mangahao releases) that is something that should be controllable, so Whitewater NZ will be talking to Trustpower (who are effectively the new owner) this week on next steps and options to restore reliable recreational releases on the Mangahao.
Hunua Falls run in “leap of faith”
On Wednesday 29 March, Lawrance Simpson posted a video of himself running Hunua Falls (30m) for a possible first descent. Hunua Falls is on the Wairoa River in the Hunua Ranges, near Auckland. Typically the falls only have a flow of 2-3cumecs but on the descent day the flow peaked at 65cumecs.
Simpson said the falls were “pretty intimidating,” but his 25 years plus experience and multiple scouting visits allowed him to make a considered decision to run the falls. “As far as I’m aware, I believe it’s now the highest waterfall paddled in New Zealand,” Simpson said. Auckland Council has expressed concern, saying “I urge people to think very carefully before they put themselves in danger at this beautiful spot.” Whitewater NZ is hoping to discuss the council’s concerns.
Submissions sought on Kaituna River plan
The Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority is seeking submissions on the new Kaituna River Document (PDF, 6MB). This document outlines the strategy for management of the Kaituna River itself, as well as nearby catchments and tributaries (including the Mangorewa), and will bring changes to related regional and district plans.
It is important kayakers speak up for the Kaituna as it is an immensely popular and valuable resource to us, but whitewater recreation (as compared to commercial use) on the Kaituna seems to have been overlooked by Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority thus far. For example, p22 says, “Currently over 40,000 people a year raft, sledge or kayak the upper Kaituna through commercial providers.”
Find out more information and how to submit on the BOPRC website, especially the submission guide (PDF, 331KB). If you have any questions about the document, need advice on submitting, or wish to express concerns to Whitewater NZ, email [email protected]. Submissions close 24 July 2017.
Whitewater NZ backs Freshwater Rescue Plan
Kayakers’ habitat is New Zealand’s freshwater rivers; these rivers are increasingly under threat due to deteriorating water quality. In endorsing the Freshwater Rescue Plan, Whitewater NZ joins numerous other organisations including Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand Inc., New Zealand Recreation Association, Fish & Game New Zealand, Forest & Bird, Public Health Association, and the Tourism Export Council. The Freshwater Rescue Plan includes practical steps to begin repairing the nation’s waterways, such as setting and enforcing strict quality standards, withdrawing public subsidies of irrigation schemes, reducing freshwater contamination, and more.
Jetboat sunk in Maori Gully
Ian Fox, Deputy Harbourmaster for ECan, has issued a river hazard warning:
The Environment Canterbury Harbourmaster’s Office has received today a report that on Sunday 23 July 2017 a jet boat sank in Maori Gully, Hurunui River.
The driver and passenger swam out unharmed, but the boat was last seen sinking at the incident site – OTO, (Old Take Out) rapid which is the rapid immediately above the relatively calm right-hand bend with high rock cliffs about 800 above the present take out. The flow at the time of the sinking was about 60 cumecs and falling, with only one small fresh of about 50 cumecs having occurred since, so the boat is believed to most likely be still close to where it sank.
The site is circled on the attached aerial photo, the present take out is labelled “T.O.” for reference. From the road, OTO is the first rapid seen above the take out.
River users are requested to keep a look out for the boat, a 14 foot (4.27m) aluminium hulled jet boat with a white deck, and report any sightings to [email protected]. Photos of any sighting and/or a GPS location or accurate description would be appreciated.
1080 operation around Perth River
Zero Invasive Predators Ltd (ZIP), DOC and Predator Free 2050 Limited are carrying out research in the Perth River Valley, to develop an approach to completely remove possums (and potentially rats) from forested areas and prevent them from re-establishing.
The approach will involve an aerial 1080 operation, over c.7,500ha. Major rivers and streams within the treatment area include the Barlow River, part of the Perth River, part of Scone Creek, and Bettison Stream (see map (JPEG, 23MB)). No zones within the area are excluded from the treatment.
Aerial 1080 treatment, using 6g cylindrical cereal pellet bait dyed green, will occur twice. The first treatment will be carried out no earlier than 28 May 2018, and the second may not be carried out until late Spring, subject to weather. Non-toxic pre-feed (not dyed green) will be laid in the weeks immediately prior to each toxic baiting.
There is only one public hut in the treatment area, i.e. Scone Hut. The hut tank water supply will be carefully managed.
Warning signs will be posted on tracks at the boundaries of the operational area, and information will be provided in Scone Hut (and nearby Nolans Hut).
If successful, the approach is expected to have significant beneficial outcomes for native plants and animals in the valley, and could negate the need for the repeated use of aerial 1080 at the landscape-scale at this site (and at other similar sites).