"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."
Graham Charles is re writing NZ Whitewater for its 5th edition. He is interested in any new runs, changes, access, changes or issues - basically anything that might be worth noting to make this edition as useful as possible for locals and visitors alike. "Even new runs that will always remain the domain of locals; we should publish the fact that it is done and first ‘D’ etc. As we’ve all learned over the years – if we haven’t published it – we can’t fight for it." Feel free to contact Graham at email@example.com.
Central Otago Whitewater invites paddlers to the NZ Freestyle Kayak Nationals and the official opening of the Hawea Whitewater Park on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March. The weekend will be packed with fun and competitive events for paddlers of all ages and abilities. Saturday's feature is the NZ Freestyle Championships, but will also include Raft-a-Cross, King of the Wave and Best Move Competitions.
Cumec 18 is now available for your summer reading pleasure. Inside you'll find another great mix of articles covering the people and places that shape New Zealand and Australian kayaking. Find out what keep's Keith Riley focussed on his adventures, read about Shannon Mast's disjointed Madagascar expedition, and find out about some of the history of the mighty Kawarau River. Other articles include wearable cameras, scouting rapids and the Teva Lea race. Available now at all good kayak shops and select bookstores.
The inaugural Okere Enduro Race was held on the Kaituna River on Saturday 15 December. There were around 50 competitors who took up the challenge of paddling down and running up the standard rafting section for six hours continuously. Most competed in a relay team of three, but six hardy souls did the race solo. The Smooth Liners (Pete, Luuka and Tim) won the teams event with 24 laps under their belt. Jamie Sutton won the solo category by completing 21 laps in 6 hours.
[Updated: 13 December] On Thursday 29 November, some Otago kayakers enjoyed test flows on the Scott Shipley-designed course on the Hawea River. Several more weeks of commissioning work are anticipated. The Hawea Whitewater Enhancement Project is an outcome of the negotiations around Contact Energy's resource consents as mitigation for the loss of recreational amenity resulting from the Clyde dam, and in particular the drowning of rapids at Bannockburn, Cromwell Gap and the world-class Sargood's Weir.
Kayaking meets enduro! A 6hr endurance kayak event on Saturday 15 December at Okere Falls on the Kaituna River. Mixed teams of three (minimum of 1 female on each team). Paddle down the river - run back up to the top & tag your team mate (boats transported for you). The team that completes the most laps in 6hrs wins. Entry: $60 per team of three ($20pp). Prizes for winners.
If you can't race and you are able to help with organisation please let Ben know. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ph: 0273293291
There will be no access to the Upper Kakapotahi and Lower Kakapotahi from New Year's until at least the start of April 2013. The owners of the Mikonui Forest have notified Whitewater NZ via Andy England, that the forest will be logged at this time.
Genesis Energy have advised that due to low flows the Whakapapa recreational release scheduled for this Saturday (22nd September 2012) has been cancelled due to low flows. As no rain is forecast over the weekend, the decision has also been made to cancel the back-up day of Sunday 23rd September.
Whitewater NZ President Polly Miller has released the associations' Annual Report for 2012, commenting "It’s been another busy year for kayaking and for river conservation. Highlights from the year include the decision by Meridian Energy to withdraw their application to dam the Mokihinui on the West Coast, and continued efforts in Canterbury and further afield to protect our precious whitewater. Developments within the Association have meant a new look for rivers.org.nz and a new on line membership system – both enormous projects finally coming to completion due to hundreds of volunteer hours."
Counter to the trend of recent cancellations of hydro projects, Westpower has reactivated plans to develop hydro on the Waitaha River. The scheme was first announced in 2007. WestPower is holding public information days: 3.30 - 7.30pm, Tuesday 12th June, Harihari Motor Inn, Main Road, Harihari. 3.30 - 7.30pm, Wednesday 13th June, St John Station, 134 Stafford Street, Hokitika.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr. Jan Wright has issued a report "Hydroelectricity or wild rivers? Climate change versus natural heritage" (PDF, 5MB) highlighting the weaknesses of the current options for preserving wild and scenic rivers. The report criticises the recent National Policy Statements for Renewable Electricity Generation and Freshwater Management: "Where the two NPSs may have counterbalanced each other, instead they favour developing hydroelectricity. The NPS on Renewable Electricity Generation does not sufficiently recognise the irreversible damage of some renewable electricity proposals. And the NPS on Freshwater Management does not explicitly recognise the value of preserving wild and scenic rivers" (p68).
Meridian announced today that they are no longer pursuing a dam on the wild and scenic Mōkihinui River citing concerns over their ability to secure resource consents and approval to inundate conservation land. The proposed 80m dam would have inundated an entire class III-IV section from Mōkihinui Forks down to Seddonville. It would effectively eliminate the upstream class IV-V section from the Johnson-Allan confluence by replacing the lower run with a 14km lake. Whitewater NZ had appealed the resource consents to the Environment Court along with Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird, and West Coast Environmental Network Trust.
In a Whitewater NZ media release, Conservation Officer Tony Ward-Holmes said, "This decision has meant that the Mokihinui will remain a pristine river valley, providing outstanding wilderness kayaking and rafting opportunities."