"SOME of my best memories are out on the water when it's dark and you're just in the rhythm of the paddling and you can hear something come and surface on the water.

"You don't know what it is, you suspect it might be a dolphin or a killer whale or a whale, but you know you're out there with something and that's beautiful."

Fiona McTavish - former world champion dragon boat paddler and current Bay of Plenty Regional Council chief executive - gestures out the meeting room windows to the Tauranga Harbour and Matapihi Bridge.

"Even in here I'll