In every sport you have your "haves" and your "have-nots".

In terms of world rowing, New Zealand are fortunate enough to be one of the "haves".

They have a strong high-performance programme that is well-funded and well-resourced.

Their athletes are exposed to top-level competition around the world on a regular basis. And they have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the sport, with world class coaching and support staff.

For the "have-nots", it is another story.

Fortunately, these emerging nations can rely on one of the giant figures in New Zealand rowing, former Olympic champion Wybo Veldman, to make life a little easier as they gear up for the world rowing championships beginning at Karapiro this weekend.

In an effort to grow the sport world-wide FISA, international rowing's governing body, is keen to ensure the developing nations are given opportunities to take part.

So it is put on the world championship organising committee to encourage the emerging nations to come to the event by providing extra assistance and logistical support.

There are about 84 countries that come under the umbrella of developing nations, but trying to get them to Karapiro is not easy.

There are language barriers to overcome, diplomatic difficulties and visa problems, but there are a handful or so of countries where rowing is still in its infancy that have made the journey to New Zealand, including Egypt, Venezuela, Thailand, Singapore, Cameroon, Samoa, Paraguay and Uruguay.

"We try to encourage as many in the system as we can to get over here," said Veldman, a member of the men's eight that won gold at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

"We just have to communicate with these people and say 'hey, what can we do to help you come to New Zealand?"'

The teams pay their own airfares but once they arrive in New Zealand they are looked after by Veldman and his team, which includes another former Olympic champion - Brenda Lawson.

Their meals and accommodation are all paid for by the organising committee, and even their boats are provided for them.

The cost of shipping equipment around the world makes competing at international regattas out of reach for the lesser-funded nations, so Veldman has had to beg, borrow and steal about 20-odd boats from around the country.

"We've been incredibly fortunate that the New Zealand high performance squad have a number of spare boats that have reached their use-by date, and when I say that, they're only about three years old.

"And they've said 'hey, we're happy for these people to use our boats', which is great for me as it means I haven't had to search too far and wide."

These rowing minnows couldn't be in better hands.

New Zealand was very much a developing nation on the world rowing scene when Veldman first began competing.

But that historic win in Munich, when Veldman and his teammates Tony Hurt, Dick Joyce, John Hunter, Lindsay Wilson, Athol Earl, Trevor Coker, Gary Robertson and cox Simon Dickie outclassed a quality field, helped inspire a generation of Kiwis to take up rowing.

Which is why Veldman is delighted to see the return of "big-boat racing" at these championships, with New Zealand entering both a men's and a women's eight.

"I've sort of been encouraging New Zealand for the last two or three years to put an eight back in the water and it's great to see they've taken the plunge," he said.

Veldman said both young crews have showed early promise, but is warning not to expect immediate results. Getting an eight-cylinder engine firing is much more difficult than getting a four-cylinder engine running at its optimum, he said.

"I keep telling everyone don't expect miracles, it's an apprenticeship," he said.

"It's been a long time since New Zealand's been on the water in the eight and it takes a long time to evolve. They've got to learn big-boat racing, they've got to establish that confidence in each other and confidence in themselves."

But Veldman believes committing to an eights programme is a smart move for Rowing New Zealand as, along with widening their influence on world rowing by contesting more events, it will lead to better talent retention.

"It's going to give a lot of young people the opportunity to strive. Because there are a lot of people that are big enough in New Zealand, but because they can't row a single to compete with Mahe, or they can't row a pair to compete with Hamish Bond or Eric Murray, they sort of think, 'well, what is there for us?' and they tend to drift away," he said.

And if the New Zealand team want to remain a powerhouse of world rowing, they cannot afford to let that happen.