Tekapo releases - do they ever actually run?

4 of us decided after paddling the very disappointing Pukaki release in the morning (didn't they used to release 300 cms???) we decided to go to the Tekapo white water course.. you know the one they spent all that money on... I had checked both the rivers web site and Meridian energy web site and they both said there was release... we get there and no water!! Does it every actually run? or was it just someoneís cruel joke designing this course that one ever gets to paddle.

Does anyone know why the energy company would schedule the release and then not do it? or who i could talk to at Meridian about the flow dates.... it seems like a stupid systemÖ it seems to me we have this awesome world class resource that no one gets to use??

I suspect it all comes down to paddler numbersÖ which is ironic as perhaps paddlers would turn up if the river was actually released on the dates set out !!

Any thoughts??? Justin

tim12's picture

course was running on saturday only because a C1 paddler gave a little bit of his time and said he would take charge of coordinating the release (the instructions are pretty simple and all instructions come on one A4 page). While the C1 paddler was training on the slalom course a group of us had the top hole to ourselves all morning before heading towards pukaki.

So if you want the course to be open more often then put your hand up and say I will volunteer to coordinate an opening for a day. They only run the course when people give their time and volunteer. I would have volunteered myself for sunday but I had never paddled the Pukaki before so went there.
I agree knowing about the 270 m3 gate testing after 3pm before hand (before I had put my gear away) would have being good.

cep32's picture

I might get hammered for this but here goes.

I've also had the same problem as above, not realising what was going on at the time. Unfortunately I was just in Twizel for a day, not long enough to be shown what to do and all that. While I understand the reasoning behind why it's run the way it is, the process limits the courses use to kayakers that can plan two weeks in advance. Difficult when trying to get a group together from say Christchurch or Dunedin and given that kayakers are generally quite spontaneous sorts.

I realise I haven't put forward any ideas to improve the system but hopefully someone out there has some experience of the system and has some ideas.

jonathan's picture

> 4 of us decided after paddling the very disappointing Pukaki
> release in the morning (didn't they used to release 300
> cms???)

The Pukaki flow was 93cu to 140cu on Saturday and 140cu down to 93cu on Sunday. Apparently there was a 270cu operational flow following the Sunday release. We'll be asking Meridian why they didn't notify the NZRCA ahead of time, so that people could have enjoyed the water.

we decided to go to the Tekapo white water course..
> you know the one they spent all that money on... I had
> checked both the rivers web site and Meridian energy web site
> and they both said there was release... we get there and no
> water!! Does it every actually run? or was it just someoneÔøΩs
> cruel joke designing this course that one ever gets to paddle.
>
> Does anyone know why the energy company would schedule the
> release and then not do it? or who i could talk to at
> Meridian about the flow dates.... it seems like a stupid
> systemÔøΩ it seems to me we have this awesome world class
> resource that no one gets to use??

Tekapo Course Flows only occur when there is a Course Coordinator to ensure the gates are properly opened and closed.

The Events and Release page () mentions this; "These releases are under the control of the responsible person listed below. You will only be allowed on the course at the discretion of the responsible person. If you want to paddle, please contact them before the event to check on the event requirements. In the absence of the event co-ordinator the event will be cancelled."

Also see for more information. The Course Coordinator is necessary to ensure the gates are closed; failure to do so could result in complete destruction of the course if an operational flow was to be released down the course.

For example on 9 April, a Course Coordinator is identified, but for 5 March there is no Coordinator . Feel free to volunteer.

If you want to follow this up, I recommend you talk to our Access Officer, Graeme McIntyre (access at rivers dot org dot nz).

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