[Updated 12:50pm] Czech kayaker Ladislav Švarc, 29 drowned on Saturday 19 July while running a waterfall near Puketitoi Rd in Northland. Švarc was boating with three friends on the Wairau River when he got into difficulties at the base of the falls. Despite being pulled from the water and given CPR he did not survive. Švarc was an experienced kayaker having run challenging sections on other North Island rivers.
On Saturday 14 June, Whitewater NZ held a successful AGM at University of Canterbury, Christchurch to review the previous year and to plan new initiatives. Following the election of officers to the Executive Committee, James Rae moves from Safety to Access, and we welcome Shaun McCracken and Aaron Osbourne as Safety and Education officers respectively. Thanks to departing Exec members Sean Bellamy (Access) and Aidan Haig (Education) for their hard work.
Kawarau Jet Services Holdings Ltd (KJSHL) has applied for a resource consent (14MB, PDF) to extend its operation from the Arrow River confluence down to the Kawarau Gorge suspension bridge (the bungy bridge). This would mean they would run down through Smith’s Falls, on the first stretch of the Dogleg kayaking and rafting run on the Kawarau. KJSH are requesting unlimited trips with a fleet of 12 jetboats.
Kayakers are advised that flood protection works are underway on the Water of Leith from February to May 2014. Otago Regional Council (ORC) works are between the Dundas St Bridge and the Union St Bridge. Part of the works entails extensive work in the river channel and on the right bank of the river. The works would at times be a hazard for river users and kayakers. Warning signs have been placed upstream. Attached maps indicate warning sign placements.
Kiwi adventurer Graham Charles has updated his guide to the best of New Zealand Whitewater. New Zealand Whitewater 5 is now available to order, direct from Graham at http://www.grahamcharlesnz.com/. The revised and expanded fifth edition contains information on over 180 great kayaking runs from easy float trips to full-on hairball, unscoutable gorge waterfall runs.
This year's Tekapo Throwdown will be held on the 26th and 27th of October (Labour Weekend) at the Tekapo Whitewater Centre. The social event encompasses a variety of fun and competitive events including; a Ball Race, Rescue Relay, Slalom and Freestyle. The 2013 event is being supported by Up the Creek Kayaks (Jackson Kayak NZ) and Cumec Magazine. More information at http://www.cumecmagazine.com/tekapo2013 soon.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, architect of the Resource Management Act has decried the changes in a report Protecting New Zealand's Environment (PDF, 1.3MB) writing, "The Government’s proposals will replace [sections 6 and 7] with a single list of competing considerations, under which principles protecting the natural environment and its recreational enjoyment will be consistently weakened, and principles promoting development will be consistently strengthened.
Whitewater New Zealand and Fish & Game have successfully appealed to the Environment Court to protect kayaking on the Nevis River from dam proposals such that by Pioneer Generation Ltd. The Environment Court decided (PDF, 7.8MB) that the kayaking amenity in the lower gorge of the Nevis River is outstanding and should be protected through a prohibition on damming.
This year the Whitewater NZ Annual General Meeting was held in Auckland on 11 May 2013, to which people came from far and wide. As people gathered into the Auckland University lecture theatre it was a time to catch up with old friends and make new ones over the mandatory coffee and home-made muffins kindly baked by our Auckland hosts AUCC.
All members and interested parties are welcome to join us for election of new officers, Canoeist of the Year, and discussion on topics regarding whitewater kayaking including, "How can Whitewater NZ help our member clubs with a focus on membership & the recent RMA changes."
"Proposed RMA reforms are of serious concern to kayakers and any other person that relaxes and recreates in the outdoors. The government's proposed reforms for the Resource Management Act and freshwater management pose a real threat to water-based recreation," says Whitewater NZ President Matthew Bennett in a media statement released yesterday. "They put at risk New Zealanders' values and quality of life."
The discussion document "Improving our resource management system" (PDF, 4.4MB) proposes to remove clauses protecting recreational amenity and add new requirements to provide for "renewable energy" and "provision of infrastructure."