Tasman/Murcheson/etc boating Jan 22nd-23d

Hello! I'm a Vermont (US) paddler in New Zealand for a geology project, and have a couple days off (Jan 22nd-23rd). I will be dropping a colleague off in Picton the evening of the 21st, and need to hire/borrow gear, so I was thinking of exploring the Murcheson or north Canterbury Plains areas. If anyone would like to join in on any Class II-IV outings - or could recommend the best locations for finding into folks to paddle with - let me know. Thanks!
Noah (noah.pollock@gmail.com)