New Business


Hi there - read an ad in a cafe in Rotorua about a new duo kayaking business starting up. Does anyone know what its all about.

The guy (Uhl?) said he has the sole license for all present and future rafting/ sledging and kayaking of commercial operations for the Lower Kaituna Gorge, he reckons it is grade 4-5 in parts but ok for kayaks mainly. Apparently he has signed up a large deal with an asian tour operator and kiwi experinec to proved unlimited customers so work for guides will be fullon. The ad was asking for 3 paddlers to guide the trips who can are skilled enough to guide the boats through a narrow gorge filled with class 5, doing 7 trips a day on average. All the phone number slips were gone off the flier. Does any one have the details or contacts about it?

His description of the gorge and paddling requirement sounded good, does anyone still know it its on?

madnes's picture

somethings never change, although the Kaituna is not the hardest river I,ve been lucky enough to run, It holds a speical place in my life. we all have the right! As i tell my young guides, the river knows, your passage, and the mighty trees hear every word..

I admire anyone who strives to acheive, just push play

james3's picture

Just been reading this thread.....what an interesting spat. I must say that the thing that really stands out is not the fact people are talking about paddling one of the most committing runs in New Zealand, but the fact that some-one feels they have the right to diss other paddlers that they have no real comprehension about. Perhaps when they are on an equal standing with these elite paddlers, they will be qualified to put down their betters!

It is all fine being young and brash......we have all been there, but there is always a time to hold your tongue...try using your head occasionally!

kayneo's picture

Hey Brent we still on????? Just wondering I am still up for it! You name the river and I'll be there (I'm hoping you wont get too lost)'s picture

Raftabout has secured access over the land beside the trout pools and is running the rafts down the awsome george section of the river and using 4 wheel drive to bring the rafts back up to the trout pools. this section is grade 3.

paddle-power's picture

Wow, I can't believe you guys are all so uptight about this plonker. Read the discussions with lots of amusement today after Toby told me about this page and what's going on.
I can't believe you all waste so much time about a non-issue like that. Why don't you go boating rather than talking about it??!!

See you on the river (maybe?),


andy3's picture

For this river they may have sole access. There seem to be some access issues with the owners of the land.

Shotover Jets in Queenstown has also successfully managed a monopoly position of a river resource. The local council grants them (and no other company) a concession to use the river and coincidentaly gains 5% (soon increasing to 7.5%) of the profits.

c.seals's picture

why should we feel like school girls? you the one with a pink frilly skirt on who was wrong in the first place.
just a thaught.

ian2's picture

Especially since the vast majority of NZ rivers are pretty much public rights of way.

pete0's picture

Who's the fool! Thats one hell of a different river.'s picture

Hey, any one who says they have a sole license for all present and future rafting/ sledging and kayaking of commercial operations for a river in NZ is pulling your tit unless they are the only ones that can get to the river!
In NZ we have rules about monopolies.'s picture

I just did a quick check and there is no such river as the Tarawyera?!?!?
Maybe someone was having dreams of paddling again last night?!?!?
Maybe you mean the Tarawera river in Kawerau if you look in the NZ guide book it is in there already.

big.doogie's picture

Brent You are the cooooooooolest but we are not all fools. Just a little wiser than you with river knowlege.

brent's picture

Hey all you moaners, you will feel like school girls now. Turns out I had the wrong river in was not even the Kaituna so don't even know why you get so worked up...went and ran it and it was all good. Was called the tarawyera river and yeah it was full of trees.

big.doogie's picture

Id just like to ad 50cents worth

Brent is cool

greg.thomas's picture

couple of shots of the lower gorge on the from the trips we've done in the last few weeks. Unfortunately none of the grade 5 bit...ya can't stop!

ian2's picture

Just a bit of history.

The first recorded trip down this bit was by raft (early 80's). Rescuers found one sock.

jess1's picture


jess1's picture


pete0's picture

The guys here are trying to help you and give you advice on a section river that is not your 'average' river. It should be taken with appreciation, not abuse of some of the worlds top paddlers.

Read what Donald has written, he lives and breathes the river and knows it better than most, and then you decide.

Have fun and take care

Pete's picture

If it was 20 years ago Would have only been 10.

A few years back I paddled out of the gorge with a dead guy tied to the end loop on the back of my kayak by his feet.

Don't worry yourself with details tho there will be plenty of "has beens" that will come on down to look for you if you don't make it.

greg.thomas's picture

oh and have had a ask around. Whats with these trips? $300 per trip sounds pretty high Brent. Sounds weird for only one person to have exclusive rights to use part of a river.

But hey good luck in the duo...sounds like you and Kayne shoudl team up for the first descent out those issues.

greg.thomas's picture

I would say that if you really want to know what it is like get in there and do it. Just be prepared for some commiting WW and a couple of must make moves, sure if something was to go wrong you would probably die- ya deck coming off in one or 2 places would not be the key as theres no stopping or scouting during the hardest parts. The fact that you don't really know what is around the next corner or whether you are going to die in 30 seconds lifts the whole trip a grade and a bit. Yeah once you make it through the hardest part there is some out standing DC said some of the best I have seen in all the rivers I've done.

Have done 2 trips down there in the last 3 weeks with a few other dramas...but we might just be in a slightly different league as Kayne and Brent or Reg.

But hey, if you do it go hard and don't say you weren't warned how potential dangerous it could be. Its the good old grading system again...stuff you'd do and stuff you wouldn't do...not for the faint hearted. But do go with someone thats done it...does help to know its clear and where things are.


kayneo's picture

Who cares. One's more than enough. Sounds like there might be a possiblity of somemore. Bags not me havin to get them out. Not so keen on the under fallen tree blind drop inescapable gorge manuvoure. Pack it in pack it out I say!

kayneo's picture

Hey Brent.........I dare to up against everyone of those boys you just bagged!!!! Jesus what are you on buddy. Next time you see any of these boys just sit back and have a watch. Not only will you probably learn how to paddle with some class but maybe some manners as well! And not only that you are baggin them on their own backdoorstep. Hows about you be the probe on your mission! C ya.

reg's picture

how many dead people have you pulled out? didn't hear anything in the news recently, must have been 20 years ago.

dodgyguy's picture

From the horses mouth. Ive heard the same about the lower 'tuna

knew of a few who paddled it and didnt come back out - pretty scarey

Don didnt you collect about 1000 raft paddles from a strainer? haha

toby0's picture

You are brave bagging some of New Zealands and the worlds best and most experienced kayakers. I reckon you should step up to the mark, around 900s is ment to be the best flow I was told. go hard!'s picture

Hi All,
The facts are:
There is about 20-25 km of good WW between the bottom hole and the bridge at Paengora.
If you are not prepared to paddle the trout pool falls don't think about going down any further.
The land is private all the way down to the bridge so don't expect to be able to hop out and scout or walk out.
The george is very steep and is not very easy to get out and walk.
I have pulled dead people out of this section of river it does and will kill.
People can and do run the section of river but they are not only has beens that only teach now!

In my experience the river changes very suddenly after wind or rain and can go from being clean to deadly overnight, there is no way to check but to go and see.

In my opinion for what it is worth the trees are the most dangerous part of the trip a poped deck or a swim could easily be fatal.

If you want to have a most amazing experience and think you are on the game go ahead it is one on the most memorable kayak trips i have done in NZ.

Just remeber there are several bodies in there that no one has found yet so if you do their families would like to know where they are for piece of mind.

brent's picture

Sounds like most are running scared, come on how bad can it really be, those guys are all past it. I might just hook up with Reg as he seems to have the right idea. Man, if someone is going to pay me to go kayaking then sure I will do it. I read the story on the topline site and that was ages ago, those dudes are has beens and only teach now.

The Kaituna is a bit low at the moment so as soon as it gets up a bit I have a solid crew sorted and we are going to get into it.

Theres only one real way to see what its like and thats to get in there. Sort of a shame that there is such good whitewater there and yet nobody seems to paddle it, thats just a waste.

And Paula-@!#$ off, if ya can't walk the walk then don't talk the talk.

reg's picture

hey brent don't get put off by what the sheila is writing about your paddling skills. you will know yourself where you're at and if you think your ready for this trip then you are

reg's picture

thanks for the advice mate, will email him and see what he's got to say. the tip with the webpage was good although the story doesn't describe too many rapids really

pete0's picture

Andi has got his description in there. This description was from Andi's experience when he paddled it with the likes of Kenny Mutton, Flemming Scmidt and Richard Sage, I think that speaks for itself when you read it.

Take care

paula's picture

if this is the brent i know u are no where near up 2 the standard of paddling that is required 2 be runnin this section!!!!!dont be so #&$#in stupid all ur life man!!!get a grip and go do a hell a lot more paddlin then go back and consider it maybe!!!!!!Pete wrote:
> There is a middle gorge with the take out above the lower
> gorge which is supposed to be a cool paddle - grade 3 with
> the last rapid above the take out grade 4. I haven't had the
> chance to do it but friends have. Its only a short run though.
> Pete

pete0's picture

There is a middle gorge with the take out above the lower gorge which is supposed to be a cool paddle - grade 3 with the last rapid above the take out grade 4. I haven't had the chance to do it but friends have. Its only a short run though.


pete0's picture

I suggest anyone that hasn't paddled the lower gorge and wants to give it a go speak to Andi Uhl first. He has done it withthe likes of Flemming Scmidt and he said when I spoke to him last that he would not do it again. he had a good write up in his Topline web site but I don't know if its still there.

Andi's comment was that 'you get a high from doing Huka because its a buzz but you get a high from doing this gorge because you survive'. This was about three years ago but would highly recommend talking to him.

Take care

brent's picture

There is a story about it on the site in the stories section. Sounds like the guys that did it were pretty scared but have never heard of any of them....might just be weekend warriors by the sounds.

reg's picture

have you been down there kayne? i heared about this stretch of the kaituna a lot and that it is very dangerous. would be keen to give it a shot but the rumours have put me off so far. would like to here from someone who's done it.


brent's picture

Looks like I am going to have a lash at it this weekend. Trips are going to pay the guides $300 a run so have jumped at that chance to make some coin. How hard can it be, was made to sound pretty much like the main bit of the Kaituna just a little narrower with a couple more trees in funny places. Should be sweet though, can't be to hard if they want us to take a duo there.


kayneo's picture

S..t I cant believe that someone is going to take commercial groups down there!!!!! Brent I would paddle it before you sign up to take trips down the lower gorge. Just take a good scout or brave probe. Donald Caulder should have an idea. Try him at Sunspots.

ian2's picture

Brent could contact Andi via his website. Go to and follow on from there. Whatever is going on, Andi will know.

greg.thomas's picture

It will not be Andi U,he sells the duos and thats about as clsoe as he would get to a duo and the lower gorge. That run is all good though, need your A game (and team)if you are going down there and a good head for not knowing if you are about to die around the next corner, its a bit of a mind F*#k. Good luck to who ever is gonna do duo trips through there.