Rodeo Rapid, Buller River

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There have been some more changes to Rodeo Rapid on the Buller.

The log that caused the death of Tim Jamieson in February last year has been removed.

There has been some moving around of boulders in the riverbed too. Opus consultants have moved some boulders into the top of Roller Coaster (the rapid immediately below Rodeo) which has formed a sort of boulder platform. At current low flows this isn't a problem, but these boulders may create some interesting holes at higher flows.

(Info courtesy of Mick at NZ Kayak School)

Glenn Murdoch
Safety / Education Officer

matt.barker's picture

I would like to see your finished research matt

tonywh's picture

Hi Andy

re your research,

We had a fairly intense discussion on river modification at the last NZRCA in-peron meeting, precipitated by the Rock "A" situation.

It is not a black and white issue.
Most paddlers are against river modification in general.
But few would oppose COW's proposal to dump a few boulders in the Hawea to create a couple of playwaves.. the Hawea is dam controlled already and COW are just trying to claw back some whitewater amenity already lost to damming elsewhere in the Clutha catchment.
Even fewer oppose the removal of serious tree hazards on commonly run water, yet there are arguements why trees should not be removed.

On the Rock "A" situation, the NZRCA exec had a variety of views. In the end we decided that, while we didn't encourage modification, in this case we would not oppose the resource consent application to block the hole between the two rocks. There were worse possibilites (such as the rocks being blown up), and the feature wasn't being changed as far as paddlers were concerned (unless you're swimming).

Here is an interesting article about cutting trees out of rivers.

Many of the same arguements can be applied to rocks (which are sometimes just as transient as well embedded trees). Basically it observes that there is a continuum of possible justifications for river modification.

Tony W-H

deane's picture

I wrote to Opus after having seen the resource consent application to do more work on this section of the river.

I told them they had created a hazard that had been responsible for the death of a paddler. This had them in hot puruist to 'consult' with me over the planned works. They told me they would take the tree out and consult with the white water industry to ensure theat no more river hazards were generated....never heard back from them.

Hopefully they will have learnt their lesson about being ignorant to river users, we'll see....

jamie0's picture

Are we going to remove all hazards from the rivers?
Is the next step to only paddle man made rivers?

rex's picture

It's been there for years Mike.
Now that you've let people know about the wave, they might
head down that way.
The tree is on the centre right of the channel, just above the
play wave.
It's probably not dangerous, but it could be nastly.


access's picture

Although the tree has now been removed from Rodeo rapid there is a new tree in the left channel below the new "road across the river". At low flows there is a great playwave in the left channel. Be carefull out there...


mike8's picture

the reasion for moving the rocks was to take away a nasty strainner in the center of the river wich is not able to be seen from water level upstream and caused a death in febuary last year. also other people that i have spoken to have had close incounters with this log, they have got broken ribs and have also been stuck there for a short period of time.
i fell that it was the right move to get ride of this log as this streach of the river is probably the most used streach and it was a very nasty log.

barry1's picture

They seem to be getting desperate to protect the road at that point. The first groin they built created a big eddy which was probably not a good move. With the money they have spent could they not have re-routed the road? Yes it will be interesting to see what happens at the "underwater road" at higher flows if it doesn't just wash away. The rocks must end up somewhere, maybe it will do something interesting!!

tim0's picture

I take it you mean the rock weir that they have built to get bulldozers across the river. I like the warning sign saying ' warning , vehicles crossing!'

andy7's picture

cheers glenn, good to hear about this. Did Opus consultants have reasoning for moving these boulders? i am currently researching the topic of , should we be altering the natural environment to make it safer or more worthwhlie for kayaking, do you have any general comments on the subject? Cheers.