Whanganui's Union Boat Club can now technically lay claim to the New Zealand Premier Men's Double Lightweight title after Justin Evans and Alistair Bond won gold at the 2020 Rocket Foods New Zealand Rowing Championships on Lake Karapiro.

To compete at the nationals a rower needs to belong to a club and Evans has membership to Union with father Bob Evans a club stalwart of almost legendary status. Evans lives in Cambridge and works for Rowing New Zealand, while Bond is brother of multiple world champion Hamish Bond and only recently joined Union.

While a tenuous link to Union the performance was the best of any Whanganui club, although Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club members, sisters Kerri and Jackie Gowler and Chris Harris also performed well winning gold.

They, along with fellow AWRC club member Georgia Nugent-O'Leary are part of the New Zealand elite rowing squad based at Karapiro. Nugent-O'Leary has just been named in the women's quad to contest the World Rowing Cup II and III.


The World Rowing Cup II is in Varese, Italy (May 1-3) and World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland May 22-24).

The Gowler sisters joined Ella Greenslade and Beth Ross to win the premier women's coxless four, while Kerri Gowler and Ross joined forces to finish third in the premier coxless pair. Harris and Robbie Manson claimed the men's premier double scull and Harris then finished fifth in the premier single scull won by Manson.

Nugent-O'Leary, hunting down a spot in the Olympic squad, finished fifth in both the women's premier double scull with Sophie Mackenzie and in the premier single scull.

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Whanganui was low on numbers at this year's nationals where Whanganui Collegiate rowers Blake Hogan and Leo Hanna finished third in the men's U19 double scull A Final.

Other AWRC competitors Luke Watts, Tom Monaghan and brothers Guy and Jonty Thomson finished third in the men's premier coxless quad and fourth in the senior coxless quad.

Meanwhile, Collegiate completely dominated the Blinkhorne and Carroll Whanganui Club and School Championships three days earlier than the nationals.

Collegiate rowers won the Wanganui Plumbing Challenge Trophy for the most overall points. The school claimed 18 gold medals.


Whanganui High School rowers competed in 26 A Finals, winning nine, finishing second seven times and three thirds, while Union won five A Finals, finished second four times and once third.

Cullinane College made two A Finals for a second and a fourth, while AWRC won four gold, one silver and one bronze.