What do the Indus and Keve rivers have in common? Mike Dawson, former New Zealand Olympian in whitewater slalom and expedition kayaker, reveals his all-time favourite rivers, the biggest threats to river access and how whitewater kayaking is like solving a puzzle.
"There is just a whole lotta love in kayaking here in New Zealand, for the rivers and each other." Shannon Mast was unanimously voted as Paddler of the Year 2022, at Whitewater New Zealand’s AGM. In this interview, Justin Venable dives into what makes Shannon passionate about whitewater kayaking and New Zealand rivers.
The Motu River lies in the ancestral lands of the East Coast Ancestor, Apanui Ringamutu. Blair 'Jah Lion' Trotman, with consultation from local hāpu representative Louis Rāpihana, shares the rich history of the Motu Awa and how its current kaitiaki (guardians) continue to care for the river today.
What does it mean to be a West Coast adventurer? For Rata Lovell Smith, a Wahine Toa who runs the Tai Poutini Polytechnic Outdoor Education Program, the West Coast adventurer is as unique and powerful as the landscape itself. In this river spotlight, she highlights Falls Creek – a West Coast kayaker's dream and 'a sacred chasm of water and rock.'
Uncle Jacko encounters a gang of hooligan keas on the Cascade Saddle and shares how packrafts have improved since his DIY raft from the 90s, the best recipe for fine campfire cuisine and the real danger of quicksand in the Dart River.
After asking paddlers from Whitewater New Zealand about their favourite huts for whitewater kayaking, Shaun Barnett shares their top choices along with a few of his own.
"There were so many sets of rapids – it was like being at the water park with a fast pass to the best ride." Andy and his mates make the call to delay their second attempt of the Dragon's Tooth route in Kahurangi National Park, opting instead for the Kaimanawa Kaweka traverse and packrafting down the Mohaka River.
Fascinated and frightened by the thought of whitewater kayaking, Alastair McDowell embraces his fears (and excitement) to join his mates on a weekend packrafting trip in Mt Cook. After his partner's paddle breaks, Alastair gets thrown in at the deep end and learns the art of navigation.
'We're cold, wet, tired and it's about to get dark. And we've still got that big abseil to go...' Safely home after her first foray into canyoning, Megan Sety and her team reflect on their type-2 adventure. They learn firsthand that while canyoning is an ideal sport for trampers and climbers to explore, it requires its own set of technical skills and expertise.