Auckland fireman Tim Pickering outgunned a field brimming with talent to win the third annual Okere Falls Champions multisport race near Rotorua.
Pickering, who also won the title in 2011, sat near the front for most of the event, which featured a 100m sprint, a 2.7km mountain bike, a 500m swim, a 1.5km kayak and a 1.5km run.
He pulled away from 2012 champion Jamie Sutton on the kayak leg down the Kaituna River rapids and kept Sutton at bay on the final run.
The race featured a world-class field, including Sutton's brother Sam, the three-time world extreme kayaking champion, and German Fabian Dorfler, the 2005 world champion slalom star who is training in Rotorua for the summer.
Rotorua's Lou Urwin triumphed in the women's race, holding off Dutch freestyle star Martina Wegman in a dramatic finish.
The race was a precursor to next month's Kaituna Timetrial and Wairoa Extreme Race, held over the two best whitewater rivers in the Bay of Plenty.
The two upcoming events are part of the New Zealand Extreme Race series, which will head to the South Island for the second leg with round three in Queenstown for the Citroen Extreme Race in late February, then to Murchison for the Bullerfest BoaterX in early March.
The best three results from the four events will go towards competitors' national ranking.