There was an impressive turnout at Rotorua's Sudima Hotel as locals flocked to hear transtasman kayaker Scott Donaldson and see his kayak.
Mr Donaldson held a talk last night to discuss his intrepid journey across the Tasman and share some of his experiences.
The former Rotorua athlete started his journey at Coffs Harbour and aimed to be the first person to kayak solo across the Tasman Sea.
Mr Donaldson was at sea for 84 days before being rescued on July 14, 90km short of the Taranaki coast, due to worsening weather conditions.
He paddled more than 2200km in his cramped purpose-built kayak and faced a number of obstacles during his journey.
Mr Donaldson said it was hard deciding to call off the trip, just shy of the finish line, but it was "the right decision".
"I needed to think logically about my situation at that point, not think about how far away the finish line was. With the weather conditions worsening by the second, my team on the land and I made the right decision to call it off."
Mr Donaldson said crossing the Tasman Sea was "one of the few feats left undone".
"You can get over a lot of large mountains and seas but the Tasman remains a challenge - especially for me."
The Rotorua audience was also among the first to see footage taken by Mr Donaldson while out at sea.
The footage showed the small cabin where he slept while he talked on camera.
Mr Donaldson spoke about finding funding, dealing with unpredictable weather conditions, problems with his kayak while out at sea, and the end result which saw him plucked from his vessel.
"Every day for the five years I prepared for this journey, I asked myself 'why am I doing this' and that was what motivated me to keep going."
"I have been developing a passion for this for my whole life. When I go on holiday, I don't sit in a cafe and drink coffee, I find a mountain and say 'let's run up it'. You can motivate yourself to do anything if you develop a passion for it."