Mōkihinui / Johnson-Allan confluence to Mōkihinui Forks (North Branch)


needs some rain


3-5 hours
Put in: 
Johnson/Allan confluence
Take out: 
Mōkihinui Forks
Helicopter section 7A
continuous granite gorge boulder gardens
Hot tip: 
have a big breakfast!

The Nth Branch (gauge 1.5-1.8) is a great development trip and stepping stone to more difficult coast runs. The rapids are plentiful and not too hard, the scenery is superb and it is an honest day of paddling by the time you get through the normal Mokihinui run. If you aren’t in a hurry fly in the afternoon, enjoy the top section, drink wine and hang out at the hut then paddle out the next day.

The run begins at the hut only if there is enough water in the tributary otherwise from the Johnson/Allan confluence. Starting at the hut gives an extra kilometre of class IV with an unrun class V+ sphincter tightener. From the confluence the river provides 10 kilometres of continuous class III+ and IV water in a granite gorge. Portaging is not a problem. The first trip took seven hours to the normal Mokihinui take out. It has been done in high flows (2-metre gauge) and is reported at continuous class IV-V water with almost no breaks and only took five hours to the normal Mokihinui take out!

It’s worth leaving a vehicle at the take out on your way through and flying direct from the Last Resort if you are planning to stay in the area a couple of days as it makes the helicopter flight cheaper.

To get to the take out: drive north from Westport for 44km to the small settlement at Seddonville. Take a right turn signposted to Seddonville for 2km. At a junction by the pub carry on straight, following the sealed road for another 1.7 kilometre to a farmhouse and shed. Continue past the shed on to a gravel road for 2.3km, crossing two fords. At the second ford there are good camping sites and an area for the helicopter. If the fords are uncrossable you can be picked up anywhere else, but this needs to be communicated to the pilot. Go down to the river and identify the take out spot.

Graham Charles
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 


rexj's picture

Awesome run, tight twisty, almost all boat scoutable. Gets harder with higher flows pushing it up to grade 5. At normal flows it is the perfect stepping stone to harder runs.

riverplay's picture

I with a team of 6 in 3x double IK's recently ran the Mokihnui from the Johnson. I have rafted the Moki perhaps 6-8 times before, including the first raft descent of the North branch?

On this trip it was very low on the first day (north branch), steep bouldery conditions, lots of scouting and pin potential. I wouldn't recommend it this low. Heaps of rapids thou and primo with a good fresh.

Which is what we got as soon as we got to the big beach campsite on true left 2km before the end of the gorge. Really good campsite and the pilot knows where it is to put gear there on the way up. There is a BBQ plate and some good pots stashed in the bushes, makes lightweight trips easier!

The rain was'nt heavy overnight put at first light what was 10cumec was now 70-90cumec. The last couple of rapids 'Cheeky slot' & 'Rods roulette' were chunky but there were lines on. The Mokihinui below the Hemphill and South Branches was probably 200-250cumec. Charging big water, ramps, hackstacks. Watch out for the slip rapid after Lake Perrine at higher flows, the rapid it's self is about 300-400m long (class 4-5) but there is little recovery time before a long continuous section (class 3).

If you're planning a trip watch the WCRC website for the Karamea. Our recent trip we went in @ .78 (or 780) thats to low for north branch and probably a better day trip would be had on the Karamea than the Moki from the forks down. High water, It can handle more than the Karamea I reckon, maybe up to 2.5 on the Karamea gauge.

Wayne from Karamea Heli Charter is cheaper if you're flying from Karamea, i.e. shorter point to point, but then you have the logisitic of the vehicle shuttle over the long and windy Karamea Bluffs, i would prefer to pay a bit more and fly from the take out @ Seddonville, which has been improved (probably by Meridian in its lust for power).

The Mokihinui is one of the true wilderness multiday trips in NZ and it would an injustice to NZ society if it were allowed to become dammed. Go Whitewater NZ in your fight, Do not dam the Moki!

zak shaw's picture

I kayaked the Mokihinui during the spring of 2009. The North Branch Moki contains the most continuous boat scoutable class four in the country. I was blown away by the quality of the run. and the gorge scenery.
Zak Shaw