Issue 85

Page 1

Issue 85 Overcoming Barriers

- School holiday adventures at Great Barrier Island

Election Year

- Hear what the Major Parties say

Full Day of Battering


- A Bad Day on the River

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Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Contents adventure equipment

Sea Kayaking 6. Overcoming Barriers 20. Exploring the Islands - Thailand 38. KASK Kayak Festival 2017 Fishing 42. Offshore Kayak Fishing Competition White Water 24. World Masters Games 2017 28. A Wilderness Waterway Episode 48. Full Day of Battering General 14. Our Special Places and the Year of the Election 36. An Olympic Gold Medalist

Tommahawk Dry Cag

High Back PFD

Sladek Recreational Cag

EDITOR: Peter Townend, PUBLISHER: New Zealand Kayak Magazine is published four times per year by Canoe & Kayak Ltd. PRINTING: MHP Print Pricing: At the time of printing the prices in this magazine were accurate. However they may change at any time.

Xipe Touring PFD

Copyright: The opinions expressed by contributors and the information stated in advertisements/articles are not necessarily agreed to by the editors or publisher of New Zealand Kayak Magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Go to: CONTRIBUTORS: We welcome contributors’ articles and photos. Refer to for more details. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS TO: James Fitness, New Zealand Kayak Magazine

Adventure Touring Cag

Rakau White water PFD

Cover photo: Jessie Fa’avae exiting Bowling Alley passage By: Nathan Fa’avae

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A group of keen students from Auckland Grammar, recently joined our team of instructors for several days of learning Sea Kayaking Skills. It's great to see people having fun, learning to be safe kayakers and watching them develop many other life skills along the way. Our measure is always; have the efforts we, the students and teachers put into learning, produced a paddler while helping that person to develop to a level that we would look forward to having them on our next adventure. These students earned that right, both with their kayaking skills and their attitude to life; being fun and focused. Their focus and that of their teachers was enough to get me and the team paddling along with the students yelling encouragement and advice as they tried to achieve the best possible time over a 600 metre course of turning stopping and reversing. One young lad, Connor, who had to squeeze into my Sea Bear and made it look small, had grace and skill in spades while paddling the course. One of the memorable moments was a fisherman in a small boat who'd hooked up a good size kahawai. He yelled at us all to come and have a look at the monster king fish that was trying to share his catch. The lads were over in a flash, laughing and encouraging the fisherman to keep the kahawai or let the kingie take it so a bigger fish could be won.

The fisherman beat the kingie and landed the kahawai to its short-term relief, as he offered the fish to the lads. He had caught enough that day. There was a chorus of “Yes please!” followed by my condition that "If we accept it, we eat it on the beach for lunch. You can’t leave it in the sun till the end of the day” a slightly less boisterous “yes” was heard. Well, it was filleted and consumed with gusto within a few minutes of arrival on the beach and everything but the head and tail was gone, with help with the scraps from a passing puppy and a bunch of black back gulls. If you are like me and believe that the children are our future hope then NZ is in great hands. Cheers and don’t hibernate too much there are some stunning days to paddle on over the winter.

Peter Townend Editor for over 20 years. Wow, how time flies.

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Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Overcoming Barriers

The shuttle dropped us early at the wharf, they’d warned us the teeming morning city traffic could create time pressure we didn’t need, meaning we could miss our sailing. I was with my wife and three children heading to Great Barrier Island, part two of our school holiday Easter escapade. Sitting on the ferry in downtown Auckland reading weather forecasts available online, they suggested we’d hit the meteorological jackpot, a row of sunshine symbols. The weather systems were settling down after cyclones Debbie and Cook had tracked over the country making a mess in some regions. Ahead of us we had eight days before our return ferry and onward flights home to Tasman. Awaiting us were sea kayaks arranged

by Nathan Fa’avae

through friends at Hillary Outdoors, and an island with a circumnavigation route planned of around 120 km. There was nothing severe in the forecast. Perfect. Our first trip to the Island, we were glad we’d taken all our supplies, as a quick glance at the local stores showed a heavy GBST (Great Barrier Service Tax), fair enough. Unloading at Tryphena port we were instantly aware that we were in the sticks. We asked a staff member what our options were to get a bus or shuttle to Orama, where Hillary Outdoors was situated at the northern end of the island. “You’ll be lucky - you should have organised something before you came”, the friendly islander told us half scowling and half smiling, but proceeded to ring a mate who ran a shuttle service. “Your ride will be here in 20 minutes”.



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Issue 85 Autumn 2017


The drive was scenic, but the narrow twisting roads and speed of the trip had everyone feeling queasy, ironic after we’d spent four hours on a ferry without issue. The drive had the added bonus that we got to see up close the swell on the eastern side, which signalled to us that we were in no rush to get onto that side, given our starting point, an anticlockwise trip would give us the most days before reaching the east side, the swell having dissipated by then. First impressions, amazing but busy. By the time we had the kayaks ready to float, only a few hours of daylight remained so we headed to Kaikoura Island. We shared the cove we camped in with some moored yachts. The scenery was to behold, the water, rocky coast, dramatic landscapes on the skyline and lush forest, noticeably different to what we’re more accustomed to in the South Island. The bird life was rich as well, with some bat sitings as the stars began to dominate. Our vision was warm water, which it was, calm seas, which it was, blue sky and yellow sun, which it was, lots of swims and more specifically lots of snorkelling. We eagerly broke camp and launched into the adventure. Soon into the morning a southerly wind started to build; this wasn’t forecast. Never mind, there was plenty to explore and land to shelter behind in the Broken Island group. It was quickly obvious to us why the place had such a fine reputation as a sea kayakers utopia, and we felt ashamed it’d taken us as long as it had to finally be on the water there. But now it was time to plant the paddle and enjoy the landscapes, waterways, caves and passageways. The marine life appeared healthy and vibrant, siting at least a dozen sharks up close, two of them hammerheads. A full day saw us find a campsite near Flax Point, a grass patch for our tent, fresh water, dry sticks on the beach, million dollar seaside view.


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

We woke to a flapping tent harassed by increasing wind; this wasn’t forecast. As we sat on the beach eating breakfast, dressed in full weather gear in a cool wind, it was tempting to head to Tryphena as we had the keys to a friends bach, but our senses told us to get more distance covered. It was a paddle focused day and we wearily surf landed in Rosalie Bay, with enough daylight to dive for a plate of Paua for tea. I was keen to keep going to Medlands Beach, I’d lost faith in the forecasting and my instinct told me to paddle while we could, we’d have more options but I was aware the family had done enough, they were tired. With the kids aged 10, 12 and 14, we had two doubles and single. Traditionally we’ve done most of our trips using just two doubles, as two small children could comfortably share a seat in my kayak, but they’ve grown to a size now where that is no longer practical or safe. So in a strange twist, our sea kayaking capabilities have reduced as family, until the kids get older and stronger. Dinner was in a small driftwood shelter we’d made ours. Everyone was now dressed in all their winter gear, rain showers swept through quickly and the sea started to build. Oh dear. We woke the next morning knowing we weren’t going anywhere in a hurry, at least not in kayaks. In fact, we wouldn’t move until the next day. The seas raged, rain squalls ripped in. We couldn’t complain though as it was such a beautiful beach and in between the bad weather, the sun would come out. It was a day of reading and drinking cups of tea. It did calm down enough on dusk to go for a short paddle with a pod of dolphins. A rest day hadn’t hurt us, the sea had settled, just a lazy swell lolling around. It was an incredible piece of coast to Shakespeare Point traveling underneath massive cliff walls riddled with caves and tunnels. We pulled into Medlands for a stretch. With an aiding south east breeze, we prepped the kids for a big one, explaining we’d lost a day, we needed to make it up.

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


It felt like a crime to be zooming past so many magic beaches and camp sites, but we wanted to make haste, we’d learned the weather forecasting was hit and miss and the east coast was exposed. Lunch at Harataonga Bay and on we went. Rakitu Island was mythical, protruding out of the mist, jurassic. That’s on the list for the next trip. We’d been in the kayaks for nearly seven hours total, nearing 35 km of paddling. At the beginning of the day, Rangiwhakaea Bay was our ultimate goal, ambitious but the target all the same. Now that we were rounding the bay, I advocated we should keep going, and get off the east coast while we could. In another hour we could be on the sheltered west side, but the team were done, camp was the only option. Hey, I was looking forward to dry clothes and hot food myself. By now the forecast was a matter of looking at the sky and seeing what way the clouds were going and how wet your face was getting, but still we couldn’t complain, we had plenty of fine weather, warm periods to dry gear and lounge on the beach. We were set up for an early start, keen to get to the west side and enjoy some more leisurely days on the water: the plan was good. The plan didn’t allow for high winds and big seas in the morning. We didn’t have far to go so we decided to attempt getting out of the bay, but we soon encountered four metre pulsing swells and wind that was only going to get stronger. Abort. It was a nice day, we set up camp again. PAGE 10

Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Another rest day. Tomorrow would be the day, we were prepared for an early start, we had a plan. The plan didn’t take into account massive seas and gale winds. We sat on the beach witnessing giant swells building and cascading into the shore, sea spray jetted into the skies. Okay, now I was getting frustrated. This Island seemed to be one barrier after another. When would it respite and allow us passage. Our rations were diminished, we were now on lean portions. Rest day number three. It also meant we’d missed our return ferry but we had a spare day before we’d miss our flights. We had one more shot to complete the trip by water. Oh well. We did however have an excellent bush walk climbing to the peaks and exploring the land, and made a plan to hike out and leave the kayaks if the sea didn’t abate. It was a fun day, we’d seen kaka up close in the forest. The sea was improving. The next morning we knew we had a chance to get around the north tip, Needles Point. Once around that we’d get back to Orama, we’d seen the west side, it was a millpond. It was an eye opening few hours for the kids as we paddled through humungous ocean swells, some reaching up to six metres but so spaced out they were like hills. They slid under us rising us up and gently lowering us down. Confident and sensibly nervous, we crept our way north giving ourselves a generous amount of sea room, the swell meeting Aiguilles Island was not somewhere we wanted to be.

Relief, achievement. We sat in the calm waters of the western aspect passing around a packet of pineapple lumps. It was a glorious day which we’d spend most of paddling, we still had a full day to Karaka Bay. Despite the conditions, the island always had us in awe, it was pleasant to finish in tranquil waters, drifting over seaweed beds spotting fish and shellfish. Our first thoughts of the Island being busy had been unfounded, we’d had an awesome remote wilderness experience.

Great Barrier is for me one of those places you go to and leave more inspired to return. We’d had an educational, at times challenging, other times rewarding journey by kayak, but I can see you could do another five trips and they’d all feel different. Upon returning I’ve enjoyed learning more about the history of the Island; fascinating tales. I feel like we’ve dusted off the cover of a book, a depth of stories awaits.

Thankfully the next ferry was departing from Port Fitzroy so we avoided the long and winding road back to Tyrpehna.



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Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Our Special Places and the Year of the Election


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Election years are the time where we can submit suggestions to our current and hopeful politicians as their ears are open. They are very keen to be relevant to the public and pick up worthwhile causes that will gain votes. We at the NZ Kayak Magazine love our bush, coast, rivers and lakes. Tourists come by the millions to have a little taste of what it is like, and that supports many in employment. A quick search on the top reasons people come to New Zealand will show: Stunning scenery, great friendly people from a wide mix of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, safety, wildlife which is stunning and won’t eat you, a new unspoilt country when measured by their own home. Nowhere in my search could I find that people come to enjoy a “great urban walk around the coast”, or “visiting a stream or beach you can’t swim in”, yet more and more coast is being developed and more and more streams and rivers and lakes are falling to the pressures of pollution.

The issue of how we rezone our coastal land is paramount to protecting the last remaining wilderness destinations for everyone to enjoy. The closer you live to urban areas the more we see the pressure to rezone land behind our beaches and coast from farm to urban. We need to protect the remaining coastal recreational areas before they are all urbanised. Pollution of water ways through poor farming practice, sedimentation and sewage discharges etc is the norm. Recent media reports have highlighted that many Wellington streams are polluted to high levels and one in particular so polluted that the fresh water snails (the toughest of all stream animals) are now deformed (Wellington Dominion Post 6th May 2017) or beaches so polluted by sewage that the Council has stopped measuring pollution and just permanently closed the beach. (Waitamata Harbour, media April 2017). So, when kayaking or remembering a favourite trip or reading of other explorations, ask yourself will I be able to come here and enjoy it again next year, will my children be able to enjoy it years to come? The added value of fronting up and dealing with these issues, is that clean waters and green backdropped non urbanised coastal New Zealand will attract better returns for both tourism and exports. But if the situation is not turned around then polluted streams, rivers and lakes and an urbanised coastal New Zealand will reduce tourism and returns on exports. Our two suggestions to the politicians are: Enact a law that hold all property owners accountable for pollution leaving their property, make consents for discharge have maximum levels of contaminants allowed, ensure independent scientific monitoring is undertaken and hold the owners to account for breaching their levels. Coastal Urban sprawl can only be stopped by an Act of Parliament preventing zoning changes. This is not a new concept, Denmark and England have stringent rules around the development of coastal land, as it is recognised as being essential to the country and its people to save these places for the enjoyment and health of all. We asked the political parties for their views:

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Andrew Little It’s a busy, noisy place Parliament. For any MP the demands are many. It ratchets up to a whole new level when you are Leader of the Opposition. Small wonder Labour Leader Andrew Little finds himself thinking of the quiet waters of his beloved Island Bay on some hectic days. “I’ve lived in Island Bay for over 10 years now and we’re only five minutes from the beach, it’s an easy spot to come down to especially on a good day in summertime and it’s such a beautiful area for kayaking.”

Great memories, a top spot for a busy man with much on his mind in this year of all years.

In Wellington you have to pick your days. But when the seas are calm, for Little there’s nothing better.

“It’s just great to get out on the water and look back at this part of the city and just reflect on things and work my way back in.”

“It’s the classic Rita Angus scene, the fishermen’s boats, against Tapu Te Ranga Motu (the island), the beautiful glassy harbour. It’s just a magic spot.” “At the end of the day especially when the light’s holding up, it’s just great to be able to come down, get on the water and just go around the little inlets and coves around this south Wellington coastline, which every time you look at it, it looks different. It’s such a great wind-down and exercise as well.” Especially when the winds get up. “You do get quite big waves off the tip of the island sometimes and surfers will paddle out there so that does make it a little bit exciting, but that’s the enjoyment of kayaking.” It’s a simple pleasure he can thank a mate for about 20 years ago. “He was a kayaker and he said come out so we used to hire kayaks and go out into the harbour and head towards Oriental Bay and Evans Bay and paddle around there. One summer we did a seven day trip around the Marlborough Sounds. We took the kayaks across Queen Charlotte Sound to Torea Bay, took a truck over saddle to Kenepuru Sound and paddled out to Pelorus Sound. It was a great way to spend part of summer. It was just a beautiful place to be, magic scenery and little DOC camp grounds we pulled up to at the end of each day.” There’s one special memory he holds dear, captured in a treasured photo on display on the book shelf in his Parliament office. He’s out on the bay in a kayak, his then three year old son Cam nestled in front. “We were visiting friends who had a kayak and we all came down to the beach and they said take it out for a ride and I did. Cam said he was keen for a ride so he hopped on and we just paddled around and you can tell by the smile on his face he absolutely loved it. I just love the photo. The look on Cam’s face is just one of absolute child’s delight.” PAGE 16

Issue 85 Autumn 2017

David Parker, Labour Environment Spokesperson Says: Coastal landscapes must be well protected. The New Zealand Coastal Policy statement is forceful, as proven by the Supreme Court decision in the King Salmon case. It needs better implementation at a local level, but we do not support a moratorium. Access issues are also crucial. Labour proposes banning foreign buyers from buying rural land. We will also resource the Walking Access Commission (which we set up last time in government) to protect and improve public access to rivers, lakes and the sea. River quality has deteriorated sharply under the current National government. Dairy cow numbers have increased by a million since National took office. Labour will enforce a truly swimmable standard, without the trickery. We also need to take better care of our estuaries and coastal waterways. It’s time for urgent action. River pollution and sediment loads are now so bad that it’s adversely ruining our coastal marine areas. Increased turbidity is blocking light needed for photosynthesis of deeper kelp beds and other seaweed. Sandy bottoms are being clogged with fine sediments harming fish spawning. We have got to return to Judge Sheppard’s National Policy Statement (NPS) that said increases to land use intensity should no longer be a permitted activity. Rules need to be more strictly enforced. It’s a Kiwi birthright to swim in your local river, putting your head under in summer without getting crook. If your local river and my local river are clean enough to swim in, then all our rivers will be clean. It's not too much to ask.

Dr Nick Smith Thanks for the opportunity to give a little history of my passion for kayaking, and to promote National’s values and ideas for ensuring New Zealand continues to succeed both economically and environmentally. I built my first kayak out of wood as a 12-year-old. My father was a bridge builder and playing around in rivers throughout the South Island contributed to a wonderful childhood and a long-term interest in, and respect for, our wild and wonderful rivers. In my late teens and 20s I focussed on river kayaking before switching from the adrenaline rush of the rapids to the more mellow joy of sea kayaking. My favourite kayak adventures have been completing the Coast to Coast with team mate Bill English and some years later kayaking the Cook Strait together. Marine conservation has been a major focus of my work over the past 20 years, during which I have approved 16 new marine reserves, including in the Subantarctics, Akaroa, Kaikoura, the West Coast, Nelson, the East Coast and Northland. There is no better way to survey such areas than in a sea kayak. National does not claim to be the greenest party in Parliament but we are the party best able to bring together policies that deliver both a strong economy and improved environmental management. Key long-term

environmental targets are our 30% below 2005 emission levels by 2030 Paris Accord goal on climate change, our 90 per cent of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040 and our Predator Free NZ by 2050. We have a long list of credible environment achievements. We have lifted New Zealand’s renewable electricity from 65 per cent to 85 per cent. We have increased our investment in cleaning up our waterways by sixfold to $450 million. We have introduced the first national limits on water quality. We have banned shark finning, increased protection for key species like the Maui dolphin and we are in the process of banning microbeads. We are the first government to formally protect surf breaks and have championed the cause of a national network of stunning cycleways. We recognise the need to protect our coastal environment from inappropriate development and subdivision. That is why we adopted a strengthened National Policy Statement on Coastal Protection. It is the best mechanism for ensuring we protect that which is special while still enabling appropriate coastal development. National is the party of strong, stable Government. Our “Bluegreen” plan is about growing the economy while ensuring we improve our environment. The election on 23 September is about keeping New Zealand heading in the right direction.

Caption: Minister Dr Nick Smith kayaking in the Subantarctic Islands in 2014. During the trip he established three new marine reserves covering 435,000 hectares surrounding the Antipodes, Bounty and Campbell Islands from Perseverance Harbour, Campbell Island. Photo: Greg Bowker, New Zealand Herald

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


James Shaw James Shaw was appointed Green Party Co-leader in 2015 after a meteoric rise up the political ranks. Born and bred in Wellington, James lived and worked overseas, primarily in London, from 1998-2010. After racking up many years of experience in the management consultation and sustainable business fields, he returned home to pursue politics, with the goal of making New Zealand a leader in the high-value, clean-tech global economy. James lives in central Wellington with his wife Annabel. James will Co-lead the Green Party in this year’s election campaign, with the aim of changing the government. About his favourite kayak trip: My favourite kayak trip was out on Ohiwa harbour, near Ohope. It was in 2007, and I was back in New Zealand for a summer break, escaping from winter in the UK, where I was living at the time. I was staying with family up there and we all went out on the water together. Ohiwa harbour is absolutely magical – from out on the water you have an amazing view back to land, not to mention being surrounded by crystal clear ocean. For me, being out on the water that day encapsulated everything I love about New Zealand, and everything I am fighting to protect in my role as Co-leader of the Green Party. We need to cherish our oceans, our rivers and our land so that future generations of Kiwis can enjoy them as those before us have.


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

1.Would you support a moratorium on rezoning of coastal land until the New Zealand public can have a robust debate on the use of coastlines? We can better protect our coast without a moratorium. The RMA should be better implemented. As it stands, preserving the natural character of the coast is a matter of national importance in the RMA. The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) guides local authorities in their day to day management of the coastal environment. The NZCPS 2010 has a suite of strong policies around protecting natural character of the coast and adapting to sea level rise. The Green Party would ensure that the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and the Department of Conservation work with councils to better implement the NZCPS objectives and policies. We need to do more planning in our marine spaces, such as the Sea Change exercise in the Hauraki Gulf, to identify what areas are important for their seascape and biodiversity values; help decide where marine reserves and marine farms are best sited, and where land management needs to improve to protect estuaries from sediment inflows. 2./ Would you support a more robust protection plan for our coastline, lakes, rivers and waterways? Yes, absolutely. We want councils to do their job in implementing the RMA and preserving the natural character of the coast. As well as that, the Conservation Act gives the Minister and Department of Conservation a statutory responsibility for protecting nature outside the conservation estate. The Green Party would ensure that DoC is funded adequately and uses the RMA to advocate for nature on matters of national importance. This RMA advocacy role would include making submissions on plans and resource consents (eg marine farm applications) to protect the natural character of the coast, outstanding natural features and landscapes and significant habitats of indigenous wildlife. The Green Party would ensure MfE helps councils identify areas vulnerable to coastal erosion, inundation and increased flood risk from rising seas, and works with councils to help coastal communities adapt to sea level rise. This can include protecting natural buffers such as sand dunes and coastal wetlands, and identifying areas where development should be avoided because of coastal hazard risks.


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Exploring the Islands

by John Conlin-Jones

- off the coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand.

We circumnavigated the smaller island of Ko Phayam, stopping for lunch at a cafe run by a German lady and her husband.

Paddling out to Chao Le Village.

Circumnavigating the larger island of Ko Chang we found this structure on the beach.

Island of Ko Phayam


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Chao Le Village, the home of the Moken Sea Gypsy community, where we spent the afternoon being shown around by the head man of the village who was over eighty five years old. He took great pride in showing us the local school, community centre, the two open canoes he had carved out of tree trunks and his carved wooden paddles.

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A fishtail boat, used for transporting people and goods around the islands.

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Andy climbed more th to get this shot from t corner of Ko Sam Sao

This rock is called Khao Tapou, which means nail in Thai, looks like one too.


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

han 500 metres the north-west o.


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Issue 85 Autumn 2017 COURSES Sep 2016 QTR SOT FSH PORT.indd 1

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World Master

A good show of NZ paddlers includ BOP, competing in t The eldest competitor was 75 yea Photos by: Estelle Leyshon

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A Wilderness Waterway Episode by Nathan Fa’avae


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


The Haast-Hollyford Highway is a long-standing proposal to link Haast via the Hollyford Valley to Milford Sound and Te Anau in the South Island, it dates back over 100-years but has never happened due to costs and needs. In the past 10 years it’s come up on the radar as tourism operators mostly, are looking at ways to get people in and out of Milford Sound easier and quicker. There’s no doubt it’ll be a magnificent scenic highway, as it’ll traverse through Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, and gouge through the Olivine Wilderness Area, but at what stage do we stop putting roads through such places? Geoff Spearpoint wrote of the Olivines “The Olivine Wilderness in Mt Aspiring National Park is one of New Zealand’s premier wilderness areas. The landscape here is in grand proportions: ice, mountains, forests, flats and gorges. It is a playground for the fit and adventurous, those looking for big challenges and able to look after themselves on nature’s terms. There are no huts and tracks in the entire area, and air access is not allowed.” It’s unlikely this road will ever be built due to environmental preservation and cost, currently estimated at $1 billion. The project lost valuable momentum when it was uncovered that an Australian mining company was investing in the project with the long-term goal of being a step closer to mine exploration in the area. It was being sold in the pretext as a benefit to tourism. I find it concerning that such concepts are even open for discussion now, as a country, we actually don’t have many areas of large untouched wilderness remaining, I believe we should guard what we have. The main proposed route, if you started from Milford, is to have the road down the Hollyford River, up the Pyke to Red Mountain, then down the Cascade River and out to Haast. This summer as we schemed up what adventures we could do, we decided that following that route would be an amazing trip, and a chance to open some discussion with the children on the trip, five of them, what they thought about a road being built in the area.

Our plan was to paddle down the Hollyford River, across Lake McKerrow to Martins Bay. From there we would hike around the coast to Big Bay, then up the Pyke River through Red Mountain into the Cascade. We had arranged for a helicopter to transport our paddling gear from Martins Bay into the Cascade, where we would collect it and spend two days paddling out the Cascade to the road end near Haast. We were road tripping around the South Island for five weeks over the school holidays, so we planned to attempt the trip anytime in the New Year. The weather forecasts were not pretty, with front after front battering the region, but we did spot a weather window in early January and decided to give it a go. We figured that any 10 day trip in that part of the country was going to have all weather conditions, so there came a point where we needed to simply get out there amongst it and ignite the adventure. As predicted, the first few days were glorious. With four adults and five children, we had two inflatable canoes and two double pack rafts as the flotilla, loaded with camping gear and supplies. We had arranged for a resupply and our hiking gear to be flown in with the helicopter who was scheduled to relocate our paddling gear. The Hollyford is an amazing river trip, generally easy Grade Two but there is one Grade Four rapid midway to Lake McKerrow. There is a portage track around the rapid mainly used by jet boaters winching craft through. We seriously contemplated paddling the rapid, but with fully laden inflatable canoes and being only a few hours into the trip, we opted to line the boats down the side. Drifting down the river with views into the huge flanking mountains, it’s a river trip you don’t want to end. You could easily live that life for a week, or more, but with high flows we reached Lake McKerrow easily on the first day, with about 35 km covered, aided by some sailing down the lake. Foreshore pebble beach camping in pristine wilderness at it’s best, we had an amazing evening under the stars, cooking on a driftwood fire and enjoying the calm of a Fiordland night.


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Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Day two was my eldest daughters birthday so there was no rush to get underway, we had a leisurely breakfast and brisk swims in the lake. With loaded boats we had a few kilometres on the lake to reach the tidal channel that flows to Martins Bay. The transition between lake and ocean was rich with activity, wetlands, sand dunes, fresh water meeting salt water is clearly a nutritious environment for life, marine, birds and lush vegetation … schools of whitebait darting around our boats. Once at the ocean we swapped our paddling kit for tramping and started the hike to Big Bay. The trail onward from Martins Bay is for experienced trampers only, with only a vague route to follow. It’s a wild place, which is why we were drawn to it. We camped in the south end of Big Bay that night, dinner on the beach with massive waves rolling in, our desire to be disconnected and ‘out there’ was official. The only other sign of humans was a cray boat that came in late to anchor for the night, departing again before daylight. Predictably the weather changed. It started with a few drops pitter pattering on the tent, and grew to heavy drops, which soon became outrageous down pouring. Ominous black clouds sat on the horizon like a naval battalion positioned to strike if needed. It was decided a few hours of walking to the DOC hut at Big Bay would be just plenty for such a day. It later cleared up and the children enjoyed the sand dunes which offered up a massive adventure playground. Deer cautiously but somewhat casually wandered around the dunes, keeping their distance and an eye on us.

challenges. The plan was to hike for a day into the Pyke River and camp below the gorge. From there we’d move through the gorge and climb over Red Mountain, hopefully descending into the Cascade River, which would mean we had just one more day traversing the Cascade Gorge to be reunited with our paddling gear and boats. Reaching the Pyke Gorge went well, with half the day on a track and the other half making our way up the river. If you can imagine a spot where Fiordland National Park meets Mount Aspiring National Park, and the Olivine Wilderness area - well, that’s it. Words cannot capture it. With a few hours daylight spare it allowed a few adults to scout the gorge, check out a safe passage to take the children through the following day. That night our fireside team talk presented a few options. The gorge was not safe to take the children into, the high water meant it couldn’t be crossed. Our only option going forward was to climb Red Mountain but the weather was poor and forecast to get worse. Added to that, our food rations were getting low. The difficult terrain and long days meant that everyone was eating more than budgeted for, so we were all having to limit what we ate. With all those considerations, the trip reports we’d read had all said the Pyke

Relaxing at Big Bay doubled as a rest day, the next three days ahead we perceived would be solid


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Gorge was easier to get around than the Cascade Gorge, given we couldn’t find a safe passage through the Pyke in the conditions in front of us, it felt like we’d be poking sticks at a sleeping dragon to keep going. In the end, the vote was to make a plan B. The fire burnt down, we crawled into our tents, somewhat relieved we had a more achievable and safer alternative. Plan B consisted of me running about 20 km back to Big Bay, using the radio at Awarua Lodge, getting the helicopter to collect me from there and flying into the Cascade, to retrieve our kayaks and gear, then getting it dropped in the Upper Pyke. Which is what I did. Six hours after jogging from camp I landed in a helicopter with all our gear, and food resupply barrel which the kids were opening before the chopper departed. So, our intention to reach Haast was put on hold for another trip. Our new trip was to paddle the Pyke to Lake Wilmot, then further down the Pyke to Lake Alabaster. Then finally down the Pyke back to the Hollyford, roughly 45 km. Once at the Hollyford it was an overnight tramp back to the road end where we began. Our A to B trip was instead A to A, but we still had days of adventure and paddling in front of us, fresh food supplies and new country to explore. The expedition launched into gear


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

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again. Life in the Pyke turned out to be an incredible joinery through more untouched wilderness, it was near impossible to absorb the beauty and isolation, it was to be treasured in the moments we could travel through it. The Upper Pyke had some fun Grade Two rapids which we suspect may have been a first descent. Once we joined the track from Big Bay we knew people had paddled from there to the Hollyford, mainly Grade One scenic river features. The lakes made the trip even more interesting adding another dimension, campsites are aplenty but with more rain in the air, we opted for a night at Olivine Hut. After three days down the Pyke we met the Hollyford and loaded our back packs for the hike out: it was two half day walks, with a night camping in between. Hidden Falls hut was empty but we wanted to camp by the river; we didn’t have a forecast but the sky looked like bad weather was coming. We decided that as it wasn’t raining we’d enjoy the evening and see what happened. What happened was at 11pm the skies opened up and dropped rain like you only get in that part of country: we were just a ridge away from New Zealand’s highest rain fall recording station. By 1 am the camp was flooded, the river was rising rapidly so it was a manic break camp and run to the hut. Saturated but happy, we settled into the hut bunks dry and warm with torrential rain loudly colliding onto the roof. The last day hiking out the waterfalls had all come to say goodbye. As you can probably assume, we all thought a highway through this area would destroy the magic. We all agreed that the area is highly worthy of visiting, but it should be with boots and a pack, or by boat and paddle. I believe there is enough to see for tourists who wish to view New Zealand from the comfort of a high speeding bus. There needs to be places where people and wildlife can wander in absolute wilderness, this was one of them.

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PS: Give me a year to get a story on paddling the Cascade River. LEASHAD-Oct16

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


An Olympic Gold Medalist, a cyclone, and Eastland Port help kayakers go for gold!

The level of the churning water is getting higher and the sky has turned black. Just about the whole of the North Island is on lock-down as the highly-anticipated Cyclone Cook makes landfall - and members of Poverty Bay Kayak Club are just launching their boats! “Training and discipline” is a mantra oft-repeated by the club's Olympian coaches Alan and Liz Thompson, and the cream of their crop aren't going to let a once-in-50-year storm leave them land-locked. That's what's going to get them onto the international circuit and perhaps even to the Olympic Games themselves. But it all costs – and costs a lot, even for this small, 75-member club that consistently punches above its weight.

Especially helpful, she adds, is having some surety around what funds are available, which is why the PBKC so values its annual $3000 sponsorship from Eastland Port. The sponsorship was originally granted to help fund the Olympic hopes of club member Darryl Fitzgerald and was then rolled over to support all promising juniors. “Just knowing it is there and we can count on it is really helpful,” Liz says. Alan and Liz try to keep up the maintenance on the building Kiwanis Club of Gisborne members constructed for them in 1984 but the décor hasn't Picture: Poverty Bay Kayak Club head coach Alan Thompson (third from right) says his paddlers have worked hard to earn selection to international events and sponsorship from the likes of Eastland Port will help get them there. Among the eight club members heading to Europe this year are (from left)) Zach Ferkins, Sam Ferkins, Kim Thompson, Alex Berminham, Britney Ford and Quaid Thompson. Absent: Alicia and Jordan McLarin

Image Credit: Eastland Port

After a cracker result at the 2017 New Zealand Canoe Racing national championships – bringing home 17 gold, 24 silver and 12 bronze medals – PBKC finds itself with a full complement of eight young rising stars that have qualified to compete in events around Europe this year.

Through a combination of fundraising, sponsorship and harvesting their own family resources, each competitor needs to find up to $9000 to fund their campaigns so, says Liz Thompson, “every bit helps”.


Issue 85 Autumn 2017

changed for more than 30 years, and isn't likely to any time soon. “The priority is travel, which is very expensive but it's crucial to their development,” Liz says, in between barking circuit training instructions at paddlers deemed too inexperienced to go out in the cyclone. “Between the coaching and chasing sponsorship, Alan is on board seven days a week. It is never-ending.” She's more than full-time herself but says they wouldn't have it any other way.

“Unlike many people who are heavily involved in a sport while their kids are in it, we were both involved prior to our children being there and will remain even if they move on, or out of district like our daughter Kim has had to do,” she says. “Gisborne is a fantastic place to be a kayaker or coach. Everything is so close and accessible and we can generally get on the water even in rotten weather. Even in a cyclone.”

“Even after all this time I still love coaching and kayaking and still enjoy getting out on the water.” Looking back Back in 1977, at the age of 18, Alan Thompson was already a successful swimmer and rugby player when he turned to kayaking. In 1978 he and his coach John Grant decided to adopt the Arthur Lydiard training methods and that same year the Poverty Bay Kayak Club was founded, paddlers launching their boats into the Waimata River from the garden of Bill de Costa's Clifford Street home. By 1980, Alan was among the New Zealanders good enough to be making the finals of major events and in 1981 he met 20-year-old Australian paddler Elizabeth Blencowe (later Thompson), who a year later joined him in his hometown of Gisborne to train. They both competed in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Thompson's success in the K4-1000 and the K1-1000 making him one of only 10 New Zealanders to have won two or more Olympic gold medals. And later that same year Liz moved to Gisborne full-time. Thompson was in 1996 inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall Of Fame and even today, at the age of 57, he remains focused . . . he doesn't really do interviews, he does kayaking. He has coached and managed New Zealand teams overseas, was a long-time national selector, and served as president of the New Zealand Canoeing Federation. But it is seeing young paddlers reach their full potential that inspires him, and Liz says they are both in it for the long haul.




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KASK Kayak Festival 2017 - Ponui Island by Joya Todd

Photo by Andy Harding

In 10 years of kayaking I have never previously made it to KASK. I used to feel slightly guilty not attending as it's the go-to event in the NZ sea kayaking calendar. The place to keep up with what is happening in safety knowledge or interesting sea kayaking expeditions etc. … And then last year it didn't happen and I went “gulp!” thinking that it might not be resurrected and that I had missed an opportunity.

the water, the helpfulness between strangers with this shared passion. I love kayakers. The paddle across to the island on near flat water in the early evening was lovely and set a tone of anticipation for me. Rounding the point to view a beach full of boats was marvelous. A beach full of boats. Photo by Ruth E. Henderson.

But I was very glad to be wrong about that. Very wrong as it happened. This year's camp was billed as the Kayak Fest, a “get wet and do” rather than sit and listen weekend. As I am a safety skills junkie, I happily signed up. The venue was in the Auckland area this time rather than the alternate Anakiwa, and therefore very doable for me. This was the first offshore KASK camp, part of the new approach of this year's event committee. I was not able to take the Friday off work this year (a new job) so drove to Kawakawa Bay where I met up with other later arriving folk for the hour paddle across to Ponui Island. And the magic of sea kayaking re-emerged for me there on the beach. The casual chat, “where are you from?”, the love of being out on PAGE 38

Issue 85 Autumn 2017

As in the past, there were a wide range of options available over the weekend, with a strong emphasis on getting wet and trying out things. Participants clearly were prepared for this and strongly supported the practical sessions. Not surprisingly therefore, rolling or rescue sessions were very well attended. Other technical sessions that didn't involve water (directly) were keenly sought too.

all weekend were Rob Howarth, with his popular Hips Hips Hips and rolling sessions; Pete Brooks who takes such delight in getting folk up and rolling that he will stand in water all day; and Deb Volturno with her Ocean White Water and rock gardening sessions. Other instructors added to the variety of get wet sessions on offer, with kayak sailing, kayak fishing, Greenland paddling, Skeg use, and rescue refreshers.

JKA (John Kirk Anderson) ran several sessions. His first focused on protecting the shoulders, the most vulnerable part of a kayaker. He demonstrated some useful exercises that most people could manage.

There were also some sit and listen sessions. The two morning historical sessions were well attended. Then in the evening “Red” (Lynn Patterson) managed to condense the considerable highlights and some lowlights of her circumnavigation of New Zealand last year into a riveting half hour on Saturday evening. “Red” also received KASK’s premier award for her contribution to sea kayaking in NZ during the preceding year. I can’t wait to read her book.

John Kirk Anderson demonstrating shoulder strengthening using simple equipment.

His Body Boat Blade session was large as was his Mayhem Management. And why not?! There is so much one can learn from this extremely experienced kayaker who is so generous with his time and so approachable and friendly. Other key instructors who just kept on delivering There were sailing lessons, rolling lessons and rescue refreshers. “Red” receiving her award from President Tim Muhundan for her contribution to sea kayaking in NZ. All photos this page by Ruth E. Henderson.

We also heard from Mike Dawson, a modest young man, despite his representing kayaking on the last Olympic Team in Rio. His subsequent accomplishments expeditioning in a remote mountainous river in Pakistan was inspirational. It was the sort of adventure I have no interest in actually doing myself (too old and decrepit) but love to hear about. It's heartening to know there is a generation out there really testing themselves in the excitement of rivers. All good camps and conferences run on their food. “Luscious” catered from their mobile (truck) field kitchen. They provided delicious food, and vegetarian or gluten free options appeared not to phase them at all. They were efficient, on

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


the ball and responded positively to late additional requests. I asked for leftover potatoes to be added to my lunch and it was no problem at all. I would strongly recommend them. I asked my friend Denise, “What did you like most about the camp?” She responded that it was the people. Meeting new like-minded folk from different areas and the sharing. The sessions were all lead by someone or other but there was always room for other views, other experiences. It truly was a great sharing get together. Kayakers come from so many walks of life, when we get together we are a formidable resource with huge knowledge bases to put at each other's disposal. So, the discussions were stimulating, informative and thoughtful. And as always when adventuring, not every problem in kayaking is fully resolved, so I've come away with a few things to ponder as well. I haven’t mentioned the locals. The Chamberlin’s own the farm we occupied and were warm hosts who shared stories about their wildlife (kiwi and cats) and not so wild (but not tame either) donkeys which have been on the island since their family first started farming there. Needless to say, we saw more of the donkeys than the kiwi. The donkeys had quite a lot to say for themselves at times. Breaking camp always comes with a mixture of feelings, regretful goodbyes being a major part of these. But as I lead my pod away from beautiful Ponui heading for the “scenic” route home around Pakihi Island and it’s fascinating red and blue-black volcanic rock I was contemplating the good memories, the additional skills acquired and wondering how I could wangle the time next year from my employer.

Pictured Right: Thanks goes to the organising committee: Chris Breen, Jim Hawkins, Nick Webb, Shelley Stuart, Shaun Maclaren, Ruth Henderson, Pauline Ross and Tim Muhundan

Photo by Pauline Ross PAGE 40

Issue 85 Autumn 2017

All photos this page by Ruth E. Henderson.


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I s s u e 8 5 A u t u m n 2 0 1 73/02/2016P A8:51:31 G E AM 41

Offshore Kayak Fishing Competition - Portland, Australia

In the last 6 months of 2016, my wife and I busied ourselves organising the Sea Sherpa North Shore Challenge. The goal was to put on Victoria’s only dedicated offshore kayak fishing competition over the Australia Day long weekend. Offshore kayak fishing is a growing sport in Australia and less popular in the Southern States of Australia because the weather isn’t as warm.

By Eoin Corroon

The time ticked by and the announcements over VHF revealed that there wasn’t long to go. Some of the guys began to hit the beach with reports relayed that another entrant had hooked up and was on his way to Tasmania! As the entrants rolled in, it was clear that it had been a tough day’s fishing. For some, the numbers game on the reef had been the wise decision, while the gamble to go out wide for pelagics and glory made for a bittersweet tale.

Lo and behold, Australia Day 2017 was upon us before we knew it and we had 35 anglers turning up in Portland, Australia, most of them opting to take the Friday off to meet other anglers and fish over a four day weekend. What could be better? We were up bright and early at 5 am on the morning of the competition to sign entrants out on to the water. Cracking weather conditions and the array of brightly coloured kayaks lined up on the sand and in the water made for stunning views. All in all, there were 18 Hobie kayaks, 7 Stealth kayaks, 5 Viking Reloads and a few other makes thrown in the mix. Six thirty came and 35 keen fishos hit the water in a range of pedal and paddle kayaks. Some opted for a trip out to Julia Reef while others raced to the Anchorage, situated about 20 km offshore. By the way, hats off to some entrants who paddled between 200 km and 300 km over the course of the weekend – a solid effort! A couple of yakkers decided to play the numbers game on the reef and try their luck on the snapper. Soon after, word came over the radio that one of the entrants had hooked a tuna and needed to borrow a gaff from another entrant. There were scattered catches of snapper and salmon from those on the reef with one entrant having already sorted through over 60 Salmon for his team, in search of some larger models. Others reported a struggle to find the fish but better conditions on the water after the squall passing. PAGE 42

Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


The results The Individual Challenge Award and Best Catch Award went to Gabriele Meoni (pictured) who caught a 98 cm Southern Bluefin Tuna from his Stealth fibreglass kayak. Second prize went to Peter Ritchie who caught two snapper and a salmon, showing that a large pelagic fish wasn’t a prerequisite to success. Third prize went to Nelson Rouw who caught two snapper and four Hobie Adventure Island rudders. Unfortunately the rudders were not on the accepted species list. Portland man David Webb used his local knowledge of the reefs to nab fourth place and Luke Easton took fifth place, much to his own surprise. Special mentions to Jordan Rouw and Shane Esmore (pictured below) for their cracking catches on the day. Jordan landed a 19.4 kg tuna having paddled 40 km on the day and Shane landed a 23 kg model as well as a kingfish. Unfortunately both Jordan and Shane did not return to shore within the competition window. Needless to say, most of the caravan park was eating and sleeping well that night. All in all, we couldn’t have hoped for a better weekend of weather and a better outcome, although it did feel weird to be on the beach instead of out on the water participating. Some of the entrants have already booked their camping spots for Australia Day 2018 so we’ll be back to it planning the next one.



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Issue 85 Autumn 2017


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Issue 85 Autumn 2017

Paddler: Sam Ricketts, Photographer: Callum Parker Photo Andrew Cornaga

Issue 85 Autumn 2017


Full Day of Battering The rains everyone had been waiting for had finally come. It was time for creeking! By Quinton Kennedy A group of friends awoke early and all met at an Okere Falls residents house to figure out what the day had to offer. Plans had been made before I got there, so I jumped into my car, and followed the truck carrying the rest of the crew. I soon noticed that my fuel warning light was on, but I had no way of telling the boys ahead of me. After driving in some pretty gnarly downpours, we made it to a gas station. I’d had to find it all on my own, having lost the other vehicle. Little did I know, this was the first of many unfortunate events on this mission. We pulled up to the gate where the rest of the crew were all geared up and ready to go, so we had to hurry to get ready. I phoned the other vehicle to see where it was and to ask if they had my gear. The answer was a heart breaking “No”. The Tuakopai seemed just not meant to be. My first save from my epic beater was a friend, Rob who let me borrow his gear and paddle his Titan Rival. This was a relief, but not long after putting in, beater number two occured. The second slide of the upper section, about half way down, I was launched face first and slid the rest of the way down on my face and side. I came out of it with a cut face and a swollen eye. I managed to continue down the river and had an incredible time. I had to work after the days paddling, or so I thought. The boys had all crammed into a truck to drop me off at my car. Unfortunately, the keys weren’t in my pocket. We searched the put in, the other put in, the take out, and the truck I was in. Nothing. It was time to call the locksmith because by this time, everyone had gone home. Ollie and I had the pleasure of sitting in a truck for 3 ½ hours, waiting for the locksmith. It turns out, I had left the keys in the car, while frantically getting dressed to catch up with the rest of the group. This made me about four hours late after a gruelling drive home through some horrendous weather. What a day! Never the less, I still came out with a smile because I got on a river I will truly never forget!

Photo supplied by Quinton Kennedy

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Issue 85 Autumn 2017