6/09/2012 12:00:00 a.m.
Great rivers - and great skill and talent on show. That’s the story of the 2013 IRF White Water Rafting World Championships in Rotorua and Kawerau. The event will run November 13 – 24 and will incorporate Junior (16-21), Masters (40+) and Open categories.
Rafting is a significant part of the local adventure tourism industry and the region is home base for some of the country’s very best paddlers.
There’s a good reason for that says event director, Rawiri Bhana.
“The three rivers the championships will be run on – the Kaituna, Tarawera and Rangitaiki – are beautiful, spectacular and a perfect test for the world’s elite.”
Competitive white water rafting has a very big world wide following and a large number of rafters from a diverse range of countries, like the European powerhouses of the sport, are expected to flood into Rotorua and Kawerau at the end of next year.
“It's a chance to shine a light on our region and our rivers,” adds Bhana.
A pre-Worlds event will take place this Labour Weekend, October 19-21, on the same rivers as the World Championships a year later. Local and international paddlers will take part including teams from the Czech Republic and Japan.
“It’s the first long weekend of the New Zealand summer and the annual Beer Festival is on at Okere Falls at the head of the Kaituna,” says Bhana. “So it will be a celebration of rafting with a good opportunity to socialise after the day’s battles on the water.”