Whanganui open boat hire / shuttle

Thinking about spending Christmas on the Whanganui with the husband and 3 year old. We've just bought a 14' SOAR inflatable whitewater canoe ut thinking that it might be a bit slow on the flat, and would need to sort out a shuttle, thereforee easier to hire an open boat. However, on my initial surf of the hire companies it looks like everything's set up for the tourist market and all freedom rentals are $180-200 per person(!) with transport. Anyone know where you can hire a reasonably priced open boat or sort out a shuttle and we'll just paddle the SOAR hard?

Thanks, Jane