The surrounds of Lake Karapiro may be familiar to Auckland's Brad Jowitt, who next week becomes Samoa's first international rowing representative.

But the environment around the athletes' base as the competitors gear up for the world championships is anything but.

Over the years the 29-year-old has raced in countless regattas at the lake with his West End club. But he has never experienced anything like this.

"The way everything is organised is a whole big step up from what I've been used to. It's been a huge eye-opener," said Jowitt, who has a Samoan passport through his German-Samoan mother. And having an international event in his own backyard has given Jowitt the chance to experience top-level competition as he contemplates his ultimate goal of representing Samoa at the London Olympics.

Jowitt, whose younger brother Cameron plays rugby for the NSW Waratahs, says the regatta will let him "dip his toe in the water" and see if the Olympics is a realistic goal.

He is under no illusions when it comes to his prospects at Karapiro. Jowitt knows the competition in the men's singles sculls - one of the blue riband events of the sport - will be extremely tough.

"It'll be a very steep learning curve for me just to see how things operate at an international regatta," he said.

"This year will just sort of be a stepping stone. Next year I'll have to put in a lot of work if I'm going to try and take that next step up and qualify."

Jowitt is a one-man team in every sense. Not only is he Samoa's sole representative at Karapiro, he has had to organise every aspect of his campaign himself - even down to designing his own uniform.

Although Samoa has a national rowing association, it is in name only. There are no rowing clubs or rowers on the islands. So once Jowitt was given the green light to compete for Samoa, he was left to prepare alone.

It has been a hard slog.

Jowitt has also had to juggle his rowing commitments with his full-time job as an architect.

"It's been pretty difficult.

"But Fisa [the international rowing federation] has been really good to deal with ... Samoa is a developing nation so they've organised accommodation for me and all that sort of stuff."