Smiles on faces were a "fantastic" sight as 34 children from the Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand attempted to catch their first trout.

The budding anglers took part in the Foundation's National Family Camp, running from Friday to today in Rotorua.

National Family Camp is an educational weekend, with fun and relaxation mixed in, for families who have a child aged 10 and under with a bleeding disorder.

Doug Stevens, who runs the website, organised the fishing expedition at Lake Okaro on Sunday - the second day of the new fishing season.


The children learnt basic freshwater fishing skills and then put them into practice.

Most of the fishing was done using spinning rods, but some of the children were able to troll for fish on a volunteer's boat and there was a fly-fishing demonstration from world champion caster John Rumph.

"Despite the fact the kids were all new to fishing, five very good fish were landed by delighted new anglers.

"The smiles on their faces was just fantastic."

He said fishing was a great family activity as "even the youngest member can take part and the thrill of landing your first fish is never forgotten".

Haemophilia Society educational officer Colleen McKay said the day was "a total success".

"Even those that did not catch a fish learnt a lot and we were grateful for the help given by members of the Rotorua Anglers Club."

A number of companies such as Suzuki New Zealand, Honda Marine, Outdoor Huntsman and Kilwell donated prizes so no one went away empty handed.

"Possibly the luckiest person on the day, however, was Courtney Stevens of Dunedin who got 'worst tangle of the day' and received a prize of a small rugby ball signed by Richie McCaw," Ms McKay joked.

"This is a great opportunity to meet other parents raising children with a bleeding disorder, for children to interact with others who understand the issues they live with and for everyone to learn from each other."

The education sessions, which were the main focus of the camp, covered topics such as bleeding disorders, physiotherapy, psycho-social issues, opportunities to learn self-infusion, and sibling relationships.

Bleeding disorders are rare and up to one third of people with a bleeding disorder have no family history of such conditions.