Annual Report to Members 2005

Robin Rutter-Baumann summarises the NZRCA's achievements and challenges over the past year, and looks to the future. This article is an excerpt from Annual Report 2005 (PDF, 242k).

It has been another year of steady progress and consistent work for the NZRCA. A number of the conservation issues we have been working on for some years have come to fruition with excellent results. Our poor cashflow position has continued. Cautious use of funds and the donation of large amounts of legal time have meant that this has not had the massive impact which it could have.

Membership has grown slightly, however we still need to engage with the wider paddling community and enlist active support for our efforts. As part of the NZRCA Executive for over a decade (President for five years), I have seen a number of great Executive members in action and it is pleasing to report that the current group have been a huge inspiration to me with their quiet tireless work. I have enjoyed their company and been impressed by the work they have so willingly undertaken on behalf of the kayaking community.

Changes to the Executive during the year

There has been only one change to the Executive elected at the last Annual general Meeting. In early 2005 Muzz Baker resigned her membership of both the Exec and the NZRCA after the Ministry for the Environment declined an application for funding, on the grounds that the lawyer we were using (Muzz) was also a member of the NZRCA. This apparently did not meet their recently rewritten criteria for funding (see financial section for details).

In addition to the SI Conservation position, the Education Officer and Treasurer positions will also be vacant at the time of the AGM as the incumbent officers have indicated they will not be standing for re-election.

Conservation and Access

In summary it has been a big year for Duncan Catanach (North Island) and Muzz Baker (South Island) who as our Conservation Officers have worked hard to keep abreast of the vast array of issues. Meanwhile Graeme McIntyre has ensured that planned releases occur and access to rivers is maintained.

Wade Bishop, Gordy Rayner, Mike Birch and particularly Muzz and Duncan have put in hours and hours of free time preparing presentations for hearings, travelling, meeting, and making the presentations; often competing against multi-million dollar organisations. Awesome work! This has resulted in three major projects, that were underway at the time of the last AGM, coming to fruition this year.

In December the new 35-year Tongariro Power Development resource consents became operational. NZRCA negotiated releases on the Tongariro, Whakapapa and Moawhango from Genesis Energy. Keep a close eye on the NZRCA website for information on releases.

The NZRCA's case for mitigation for all the whitewater amenities drowned under the Waikato dams was turned down at the resource consent hearing. NZRCA appealed to the Environment Court and appeared before an Environment Court Commissioner in mediation with Mighty River Power. After much work an agreement was signed with Mighty River Power. There will be no scheduled releases for Ngaawaparua however MRP undertake to honour any requests for releases for scheduled events. This is an interim agreement, with a 5 year monitoring period.

As mitigation for amenities lost to the Clutha and Hawea dams, Contact Energy is funding the construction of a major play and slalom site on the Hawea. Legendary three-time World Cup Slalom Champion Scott Shipley is designing the features.

On the other side of the ledger, the Mokau and the Kaituna are under serious threat. Little Huka and all the other significant rapids on the Mokau are proposed to be drowned by a new dam. In the case of the Kaituna, Bay of Plenty Electricity proposes to build a dam which will drown half of the "Awesome Gorge" and all of the "Gnarly Gorge" sections of the river.

A major new force has appeared on the conservation horizon, the Living Rivers Coalition (LRC). The idea behind this is basically that with irrigation, effluent, energy and political assaults on all sides, an advocacy group fighting specifically on behalf of rivers is now required. The LRC has been created for this purpose by Forest and Bird, Fish and Game, Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) and NZRCA.

As well as these long term efforts we have also done the following:

The next few years may turn out to be pivotal in the history of river management in this country. There is increasing competition for resources, and for the first time management of the water resource is being standardised across the country.


Alan Bell has been working hard to encourage non-affiliated Clubs to join us, before they need our support and that of other NZ kayakers. He has managed to increase membership numbers slightly during the year, particularly, in the central and upper North Island.

Our membership remains firmly based on a dozen or so major canoe clubs, each of which has a significant whitewater component. These clubs include Northland CC, Different Strokes (Auckland), Kaimai CC, Hawkes Bay CC, Huka Falls CC, Ruahine WWC, Kupe CC, Hutt Valley CC, Nelson CC, Whitewater CC, University of Canterbury CC, and Otago Canoe and Kayak Club. A number of smaller Clubs also have rejoined NZRCA over the past year and individual membership has also increased which has compensated for the winding-up of Waimanui CC in Christchurch.

Safety and Education

Although he has decided not to stand for election again, Steffan Lamont really got stuck in this year. Rationalising the Rescue and Safety subsidies, meeting with NZOIA to redevelop the river rescue and safety course syllabi, and holding discussions with Swiftwater Rescue Education Trust are but a few of his activities. This work has set up the education role to be a whole lot less onerous for whoever takes on this role.

Glenn Murdoch has continued to try and resolve the long running issue of NZRCA's relationship with the Maritime Safety Authority (MSA). The MSA is yet to release it's report on Eleanor Rutter's death (over 14 months ago) and continues to stall on its commitment to the memorandum of understanding developed between NZRCA, NZOIA and MSA.

As indicated in last the 2002 Annual Report, changes to Lottery Grants Funding means we have been lucky to receive financial assistance for River Rescue and Safety Courses for the last two years. During the year Steffan has rekindled our relationship with Water Safety NZ (WSNZ), who subsidise the delivery of courses for NZRCA members. WSNZ has been positive about the prospect of making funds available to continue this subsidy for the coming season, but as at the time of writing, this has not been confirmed. For the coming season we are able to continue to subsidise courses by using up the surplus funds accumulated from past WSNZ assistance.

The significance and benefits from these courses are wide reaching. The recipients of subsidies obviously benefit from directly receiving the training, but the people they kayak with also receive benefits through subsidy recipient's ability to offer advice, knowledge and experience to less experienced paddlers, and to provide assistance when things go wrong. In addition to these courses Steffan has also proposed to WSNZ that rolling gets considered as a key safety skill for kayakers and a request for funding rolling tuition has been made.

The NZRCA newsletter, NZ Canoeing, has contained numerous articles on liability and risk management this year. We believe this area of safety and education is one which may need to be developed further in the future, if we are to prepare for, and prevent, the possibility of regulation and restriction aimed at prevention of accidents.


The NZRCA website and the New Zealand Canoeing newsletter are our main ways of keeping members up-to-date with our work and breaking news on kayaking and rivers conservation.

Jonathan Hunt was overseas for some of the past year but continued to fill his Webmaster role, thanks to Mike Birch who looked after the website during that time.

Website usage currently shows only a minor increase compared to the same months a year ago. The audience is steady at around 7,000 unique visitors per month. The Buy, Sell & Swap forum continues to be very popular, with approximately 19,000 messages to-date. The other forums see steady use.

In May, the online Gallery was upgraded to a significantly more capable system. New albums have been added, along with a random image on the home page. Jonathan also updated the Guide to the Whanganui River. This is now in its 15th edition and is a much sought after item during the summer months. Behind the scenes Belinda Green has continued to be our volunteer distributor of this publication.

While we have continued to enjoy free hosting via the Wellington Community Network the server software is increasingly out-of-date. Unless the server is upgraded in the near future, it will become necessary to move to a different hosting arrangement, possibly incurring additional costs, if improvements to are to continue.

Tony-Ward Holmes edited and produced two more issues of NZ Canoeing during the year. Conservation, risk management and legal liability issues have featured strongly as the Exec believes these issues are likely to be very important to kayakers in the years to come. We have trialled Adobe InDesign CS, as an upgrade path from Adobe PageMaker 6, to support continued production of NZ Canoeing, Guide to the Whanganui River and other publications. We are still considering using this to enhance our capabilities in desktop publishing.

I especially wish thank the following advertisers (and Simon Callaghan for liaising with them):

  • Rapid Sensations
  • Day Two
  • Hydraulics
  • Bliss-stick kayaks
  • Rasdex

Advertiser support is invaluable to ensure that the newsletter is not a drain on our finances. If members are looking to buy new gear please consider repaying the support that these advertisers have shown for our organisation.

At the last AGM Simon Callaghan was elected onto the Exec as Communications Officer. The intention was for Simon to manage the membership database and through it enhance the efficiency with which we liaise with members and other key stakeholders. Due to the erosion of our database system over the last few years Simon was prevented from fully engaging with his position until recently. We have now upgraded the database system from FileMaker Pro 4.2 to FileMaker Pro 7 and courtesy of Jonathan we have migrated the old records. We hope that the new software will assist us to handle members' records more efficiently and process changes to personal information in a more timely manner.


Rob Wells has significantly tidied up our financial processes this year. His greatest contribution has been his obtaining audit certificates for the last few years accounts.

The Balance Sheet lists $5000 under accounts receivable which is monies owed by Mighty River Power for our legal costs. These costs are then payable to Anderson Lloyd Caudwell, who, at the balance date, were owed this sum plus $2300 in disbursements (see accounts payable). This $5000 payment has not been included in the operating statement as revenue or as a cost against conservation.

The Operating Statement shows that we have managed our cashflow well, despite our income declining dramatically over the last two years. This position is artificially positive because a one off payment of $2000 was received from the winding-up of Waimanui Kayak Club in Christchurch that offset some of the revenue not received from SPARC (Hillary Commission) due to internal problems within NZ Canoeing Federation.

There was a further blow to our income. The Ministry for the Environment made a change in policy and in order to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, refused to assist us with legal costs incurred on RMA issues, in which we were represented by Maree Baker (our then South Island Conservation Officer).

Maree and the firm she works for, Anderson Lloyd Caudwell, has, over the years, donated a lot of pro bono time to the NZRCA and without this we would not have been able to save many of New Zealand's iconic rivers. Anderson Lloyd Caudwell allowed Maree to provide her professional time, free of charge, on a number of matters. Without this generous support our financial position could be much worse.

Membership fees remain our key source of funds but fundraising will need to occur if we are to grow our service to paddlers and ensure that we are in a secure position to protect rivers in the future. During the year we have completed set-up work on the NZ Rivers Conservation Trust. This trust has yet to have trustees appointed, but once these are in place, it will enable tax deductible donations to be made, that can then be used for conserving rivers which I hope will assist our financial situation.

Thank you's

I would like to particularly note my thanks to Anne Smith (Administration Officer), Hugh Canard (our patron) and to Mike Birch (Vice-President).

Anne has been our voluntary administration officer for over a year now and she has shone in this role during the year. She acts as the lynch-pin to the Exec by disseminating mail, meeting minutes and fielding random requests for information. Strictly speaking, her role is outside of the Exec, but without her we wouldn't have managed.

Hugh has continued to be a great figurehead for the NZRCA; it is great to have his unconditional support for our work as well as his wisdom to draw on.

Whenever a bit of work needs quiet input it seems like Mike will do it. His gentle support for each portfolio has been appreciated by each member of the Executive and his work dealing with the NZ Canoeing Federation has been invaluable.

Lastly, in addition to all of the people mentioned in this report, I'd like to thank the partners of each of the Exec members. These people have generously put up with the NZRCA's work intruding on precious personal time and so in their own way have made a generous contribution to paddling. My thanks to each of you.

Robin Rutter-Baumann

AGM Venue

Taupo Language & Outdoor Education Centre
111 Tuwharetoa St

Saturday 16 July, from 10am-4pm

There will be a group dinner on the Saturday night and paddling at Ngaawaparua on Sunday.

The AGM will include the opportunity to ask questions of each of the current officers of the Executive, vote in the Executive for the coming year and guide the work of the NZRCA by discussing the work you would like focused on during the coming year.

Nominations for the Executive made at the AGM must be with the person nominated being present. Alternatively nominations must be made in writing with the signed acceptance of the nominee, and received no later than 2 July 2005 to the Administration Officer (PO Box 284, Wellington or We are particularly keen to fill to-be-vacated positions in South Island Conservation, Education and Treasurer. At the AGM there will be a vote to award the Canoeist of the Year. If you know of an individual (or team) who has made an outstanding achievement or contribution in the area of recreational canoeing then please nominate them by writing to the Administration Officer before 10 July 2005.

There is also a remit proposed to amend the constitution at this years meeting. This is as follows:

Remit Purpose

To enable NZRCA more flexibility with the date that the AGM is held, to enable the Annual Report to be distributed electronically and thus more cheaply, and to correct some minor typos and inconsistencies in the NZRCA constitution.


I propose that the following changes are made to NZRCA Constitution:

  1. That rule 25 be amended by deleting 'not earlier than two calendar months'.

    This allows the AGM to be held any time within six months of the end of the Association's financial year.

  2. That rule 26 be amended by deleting 'motion' and substituting 'motions'.

    Fix a typo.

  3. That rule 31 be amended by deleting 'member' and substituting 'officer'.

    It is appropriate that Association Officers, rather than Members, are notified when convening an Executive meeting.

    1. That a new rule, rule 59, be added as follows: "That wherever the rules herein describe communication from NZRCA to members as 'in writing', such communication may instead be in the form of an email to members, combined with a notice on the home page of the NZRCA website."
    2. That a new rule, rule 60, be added as follows: "That wherever the rules herein describe communication from members to NZRCA as 'in writing', but not specified as requiring a signature, such communication may be in the form of an email."

    This change allows the NZRCA to administer its business at greater convenience and minimise costs. Situations requiring written communication:

    • NZRCA -> Members
      • Nominations for Patron and Officers (prior to AGM) (rule 16).
      • Notices of motion and remits for AGM (prior to AGM) (rule 26).
      • Notice of time, date and place of the Annual General Meeting (rule 29).
      • Notice of Executive meeting (ref amendment 3 above, and already extended by email, facsimile or by telephone) (rule 31).
      • Notice of motion to dispose of real property (prior to General Meeting) (rule 52a).
    • Members -> NZRCA
      • Resignation of membership (rule 7a &b).
      • Notice requesting a Special General Meeting (including signatures) (rule 27).
  4. That all clauses in the constitution are renumbered sequentially.

    This is to tidy up the existing document, because of gaps in numbering created by previous amendments.

Proposed by: Jonathan Hunt
Seconded by: Tony Ward-Holmes
Date: 14th June 2005