Planning is already under way to maintain New Zealand's place among the top rowing nations at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

And the platform has been laid with New Zealand's best under-23 rowers gathering a decent medal haul at their world championships in Lithuania recently.

New Zealand sent its largest team there and they returned with five medals. Rowing's future is undeniably rosy.

When Government money for sports is doled out later this year, rowing will be at the front of the queue.

Advertisement

Other sports have fallen short of expectations in London. Not rowing, and they are likely to end up rolling in it. But there are other elements Rowing New Zealand are concerned with.

"The success brings with it huge expectations for Rio," Rowing New Zealand chief executive Simon Peterson said last night.

"It's not necessarily about needing more money; it's more important to keep building a winning culture through our development programmes to stay ahead of the rest of the world.

"There needs to be a sustainability to what we're doing."

It might only last until tomorrow morning (NZT) but rowing can bask in both the glow of a wonderful Olympic campaign, but also claim bragging rights as the country's most successful Games sport. The three gold, two bronze medal haul from Eton Dorney last week took to 21 the number of New Zealand's Olympic rowing medals.

That's one more than athletics, but there is the all-but-certain expectation that when Valerie Adams throws her final put in the women's shot, the two sports will be level pegging.

Only Britain, with four, won more golds than New Zealand last week.

Bronze for the lightweight men's double of Storm Uru and Peter Taylor capped the campaign off nicely.

Advertisement

They had come to London chasing the gold. Taylor admitted afterwards he was wrestling with mixed emotions but both men acknowledged that third was sure better than fourth.

Which is more than could be said for the graceless British pair Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter in that race. The defending Olympic and world champions took silver, cut down just short of the finish by Danes Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist.

Five medals from seven A finals out of 11 events entered speaks of strength across the board.

Emma Twigg came up just short in her single scull final, finishing fourth, and the women's double of Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer were fifth.

The golds were won in distinctly different styles.

The pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond provided themselves with the perfect finale to an Olympic cycle of undeniable magnificence.

Advertisement

Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan, fourth at the 1500m mark, flew home brilliantly to win the double scull.

And Mahe Drysdale, after a titanic battle with his only rival in the single scull class, Czech sculler Ondrej Synek, finally got his gold, four years after being denied by illness in Beijing.

New Zealand's collective performance exceeded its objectives.

"We have overachieved our funding targets of three medals of any colour and five A finals," Peterson said.

"Our expectations were four to five medals, given our success in Bled at last year's world championships. We are particularly delighted to have three golds."

New Zealand have won golds at four successive Olympic regattas. They are among the big players on the World Cup circuit. There is a system in place, overseen by former Olympic silver medallist Tonks.

Advertisement

As Murray bluntly put it, the plan is laid out by Tonks and his team of coaches and "you're either in it to survive, or don't be there. That's his (Tonks') philosophy; either do what he says or piss off."

It's an unforgiving regime but the rewards are high. They strive for excellence; only the strong-minded complete the journey.