There is a gathering at Lake Karapiro this afternoon for which it would be worthwhile quietly sneaking in the side door.

It is a reunion of those involved in the 1978 world rowing championships, the only other time the event has been staged in New Zealand.

Talk to anyone involved in that fabulous event and the memories are strong, and warm.

From a non-New Zealand perspective, Britain's team manager David Tanner was there. He's emphatic in his recollections.

"For at least 20 years after 1978, among the coaching people and the rowers that was the best world championship. It lasted that long.

"It was exceptional. They'll do well to cap that one but in my book the signs are really good."

The rebuilt Karapiro is impressive and one of its permanent features is the Don Rowlands Media Centre, named after the organiser of that first jamboree.

Back then, there was a strong element of rolling up the sleeves and getting the job done, all hands to the pump.

The goalposts, and standards, have changed with time. It is a vastly more professional operation and the bosses of the world governing body Fisa, have certain requirements, just as those who run world cups and championships in other high profile sports do.

There is a longer game in play for Rowing New Zealand out of this.

Do it well, run a smooth, efficient operation, and there is the likelihood of more international events in the years ahead.

In a sense it's a reworking of the key line from the corny Kevin Costner fantasy baseball movie Field of Dreams of the late 1980s, where he carves out a diamond on his farm after being told by the James Earl Jones character that if he does, old heroes will come to play.

In that vein, if the facility works - and all the indications are encouraging - the reward should follow.

On the water, New Zealand will be defending four titles from Poland a year ago. They have 55 athletes in 18 crews.

There will be 27 classes. The United States have the biggest representation, 79 rowers and a presence in every Olympic and international event, plus two adaptive disciplines.

Of the 49 countries competing, nine are entered for only one event; Samoa and the United Arab Emirates are first time attendees.

The championships are a perfect vehicle for RNZ to showcase the sport.

New Zealand has a proud record down the years and for the last decade have had a regular seat at the sport's top table.

You think back to Rob Waddell's single seat dominance leading up to, and at, the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and others such as the double Olympic champions Caroline Meyer and Georgina Earl, Mahe Drysdale - the inheritor of the Waddell mantle - and now the dominant coxless pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

It was no coincidence that rowing surged in popularity among young women when the Hawkes Bay twins began their golden reign.

That should be part of RNZ's agenda out of the next week.

Success on the water can only benefit the sport, given that this time it won't be images on the square box from the other side of the world to inspire the next generation.

This time they'll be up close and in person, and in motivational terms you can't get it better than that.