Pair on extension paddle

By Dean Taylor


While most people looked forward to taking it easy over the summer break, Hayden Titchener and his partner Julie Grant were heading off on an adventure.

The Dunedin couple set off on December 28, and paddled their $200 Trade Me canoe the length of the Waikato River.

It was meant to be from the source to the sea, but volcanic activity meant they started from the Blue Pool on the Tongariro River, paddled the Western Bays of Taupo and then to Port Waikato.

The former Te Awamutu man caught up with his parents Lois and Ken on the journey - they helped the couple at Arapuni Dam.

Mr Titchener is a contract outdoor instructor, working mainly for Otago Polytech and Outward Bound.

He says in his work he is always trying to get young people to extend themselves, so this 400km paddle was him extending himself.

"It's all relative," he says.

His partner is an outdoor leadership and management instructor at Otago Polytech, so they are both used to outdoor adventures.

This trip was something new.

Miss Grant says she wanted to explore more of New Zealand, especially the North Island. They bought the fixer-upper second hand canoe and planned their journey - making provisions stops at Taupo and Cambridge and carrying their needs with them in the open boat.


5Holing the boat on day one wasn't in the plan, but duct tape held out until they could get it plastic welded in Taupo.

While that added a day to their schedule, they finished ahead of time, underestimating the current as they got further north.

And it did provide the challenge they were after.

Lake Taupo had a reasonable swell, which meant extra care was needed.

And carrying all the gear and canoe around the dams was hard work.

Many didn't have tracks and some required lowering everything with ropes.

They also met some lovely people who helped, fed them and gave them somewhere to stay or camp.

The couple spent a bit of time in Te Awamutu before returning home and planning their next challenges.

First up on their agenda is a bike tour of Samoa and later sailing and sea kayaking around Stewart Island.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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