Adventure sport also about environment

By Roger Moroney

1 comment
Adventure racers have as much commitment to the environment as they do their sport. Photo/File
Adventure racers have as much commitment to the environment as they do their sport. Photo/File

David Tait has a clear devotion to canoeing and kayaking - and has an equally clear devotion to the environment around him.

As president of the Sport Hawke's Bay-based Kiwi Adventure Trust he relishes the opportunity to provide adventure experiences for all ages, and as an individual he wants to pick up the paddles, pack the canoe, and spend five days voyaging about 200km from the headwaters of the Ngaruroro in the Kaimanawa Ranges to the sea.

And along the way take in the water. Literally.

"It is about being aware of the environment and the value of water has now very much come into peoples' minds," he said of the recent Havelock North gastro crisis.

"It was a terrible incident to happen but it has made people sit up and see what is going on."

So part of the river adventure, which he and his three canoeing mates will be financing themselves, will include just not admiring the pristine and clean upper reaches of the river and its sources but taking two samples of it, from various locations along the way, to be put through a laboratory process upon the completion of the journey.

They will also carry out portable tests along the way for some aspects of what is in the water.

It would be a journey of both adventure with environmental science thrown in.

"To ask just what is the quality of the water - and we can do this in a physical way."

What they will also do is what is still possible in the distant high headwater regions - drink it.

"Until the stage as we come down where we will have to boil it."

The river journey will also be taken by about 50 other canoeists from all over the country who are devoting the Labour Weekend break to the adventure.

Mr Tait said they looked at beginning with a 13km walk into the starting point near Boyd's Bush from a private station but decided to take the aerial option - they will helicopter in with their lightweight but immensely strong 21kg plastic canoes and minimal gear.

They will set out on Thursday October 20 and on Friday evening, having negotiated some "grade three" white water sections in the Kuripapango region, will meet up with the visiting canoe group.

From there it will be another two days rowing downriver through Whana Whana and then the final stretch to the sea where the Ngaruroro enters the Pacific at Clive.

It is not the first time Mr Tait has ventured down the region's rivers.
"I've done a few," he said.

Back in 2009 he and a small group of canoeists journeyed 176km down the Mohaka River, again from the headwaters around the Kaimanawas to the sea, although on that occasion what was in the water wasn't part of the adventurous equation.

Canoes and kayaks are becoming increasingly popular, particularly with young people and as a member of the Hawke's Bay Canoe Club he is keen to spread its sport and recreational values.

One of his targets is to find more opportunities for young people to engage in the pursuit and the rivers are one way.

"Rivers are roads many people never get to travel."

The Ngaruroro journey was still in the planning stages, as was putting together the funding for the laboratory work on the samples they will collect along the way.

"But hey," he said with a smile.

"We'll find it some way - we are all responsible for our water."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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