Four New Zealand boats have made winning starts to the rowing world championships in Bulgaria.

The women's pair (Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler), men's singles sculler Robbie Manson, the women's lightweight double (Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle) and men's double sculls (Chris Harris and John Storey) all won their heats to advance to semifinals or quarter-finals.

The men's pair of Tom Murray and Michael Brake finished third while the lightweight men's double sculls team of Ben van Dalen and Matthew Dunham finished fourth to reach quarter-finals.

However the men's four and men's quad featuring decorated single sculler Mahe Drysdale both failed to fire and face repechages.