Back to the main page Aoraki Dragon Boat
Association (Inc)
Christchurch, NZ

Click these tabs to see what Aoraki is about.

"Aoraki Dragons" is a collective of the various adult, youth and school teams in the South Island of NZ that ensures we have the resources, equipment and infrastructure to train and race in Dragon Boats.

What is Dragon Boating? Take a look at this great clip of our recent Corporate Open Day - Thanks Jimmy Ryan, love your work! [Play it Loud]

Note: the entrance to Lake Rua is now the toward the end of Sawyers Arms Road before the paving slab supplier. The entrance is on the right. See the "Lake Rua" tab of the Training page.

Next event:

South Island Championship, on Saturday 10-March at Lake Hood.

Last events were: Super Summer Sizzler at Akaroa on Sunday 11-Feb-18. Before that was Aoraki Open on Lake Pegasus, Sunday 28-Jan-18.Lake Rua hosting the Corporate Intro races

Sound like fun? You bet! Email us to join a team - there is still time to get on board.


New Rules for Right of Way an the Avon - Keep LEFT but pass in the middle.

If you look a the Training page ("Owles Terrace" tab), it describes how:

  • Dragon boats (and all forward facing craft) now travel on the LEFT of the river (UP-stream or DOWN-stream) whereas rear-facing craft (such as rowers) keep RIGHT.
  • Dragon boats now PASS on-coming rowing craft (who will hold their line close to the bank) by moving to the centre of the river before completing their passing manoeuver and then returning to the left bank.

Corporate Challenge

Aoraki helped Abreast of Life put on the Corporate Open Day at Lake Rua, Saturday 11-November-2017. See the Race RESULTS.

Aoraki Open Squad now the New Zealand Rep.

Congratulations to these Aoraki Dragons paddlers who won the Regional Open racing at the National Champs in Karapiro in April and represented our country at the World Champs in Kunming, China in late October 2017. More ...

From last season: South Island Champs

We've now completed the 2017 season of dragon boating in the South Island with a bang (Saturday 25th March 2017, at Lake Hood). Although the weather was cold, the paddling was intense and the camaraderie warm. Thank you all for helping to make yesterday's South Island Champs regatta run so smoothly and make it such an enjoyable event for everyone.

Click here for the full set of results for the day.

Congratulations to all the deserving winners!

  • Girls' Schools 'Splash and Dash' Cup - Avonside Girls' High School
  • Girls' Schools Johnson Cup - Avonside Girls' High School
  • Women's Cup (500m) - Otautahi Paddling
  • 'Hell for Leather' Cup (Premier Mixed 200m) - Tu Meke
  • Corporate Cup (500m) - Aurecon Avengers
  • Premier Mixed Cup (500m) - Tu Meke
  • South Island Grand Champion Trophy - Tu Meke
  • Coach of the Year Award - Evan Roper

The next stop was the climax of the season - the National Championships regatta at Lake Karapiro.

More details...

Aoraki Open

Congratulations to Tu Meke and Ridge Riders for winning the Open A Finals of the 250 metres and 500 metres (respectively) at the Aoraki Open on Sunday 5-March-17. In the Women's Division, Otautahi won both distances. In the School Girls division, Avonside GHS won the 250 metre while Marian College won the 500 metre Final.

Ice Breaker, Sunday 11-Dec-2016 at Lake Rua.

Well, our first competitive regatta of the 2016/17 season has now been and gone! After a rather damp, cold start, the day eventually turned out sunny, but the weather didn't affect the competition. The races were quick over the short course and provided a good taster for our new team members. We all got a chance to see how we match up against everyone else – and we all got to see what we need to focus on in our training sessions! Race results are attached. Well done to all the participants and to the event organisers for making it a fun day out on the water.

See you all back training hard on the water, preparing for the next event – the fun Akaroa 10s event on 22 January – details to follow shortly.  

Polar Blaster

...was on Sunday 21-August 2016, at Lake Rua. Congratulations to winners on the day:

  1. South Dragons (South New Brighton Surf Life Savers)
  2. Ridge Riders
  3. Tu Meke Dragons

Next up was the Cob Web Blaster on Sunday 25-September 2016. And what do you know? Very similar results!

Season dates:

Event Date, approx time, location
Working Bee Sun 30-Oct at Owles Tce. 10 am to 1 pm.
Corporate Intro/Give it a Go Sat 19-Nov from 10 am to 3 pm
Lake Rua
Sunday Schools Intro day Sun 20-Nov - cancelled
Coaching Seminar Sat 26-Nov. Times and venue TBC. Training is designed for new coaches, and covers the basics of technique, timing, power and endurance. It includes organising the team, measuring progress and what to do on race day.
Ice Breaker Sun 11-Dec-16 from 10 am to 3:30 pm
Lake Rua
Sweep Assessment Sweep Training and Assessment, 10 am start at Lake Pegasus
Akaroa Super 10 Sun 22-Jan-17, 9:15 am to 3:30 pm
Aoraki Open (inc New Corporate Races) Sun 5-March not 26-Feb. 10 am to 3:30 pm
Pegasus (at Lake Rua)
Tu Meke Sprints Date and venue TBC
South Island Champs Sat 25-March-17
Lake Hood
National Champs Friday 7th April and Saturday 8th April at Lake Karapiro

See the "Events" tab above for more details and events.

Other Aoraki News:

  • See the Season Info Pack for teams which was handed out at the Season Opener on Friday 14th October 2016.

  • Over Summer, we will have two "Swift" Ten-Man Boats and three 20-Man Champions that teams can use at Lake Rua. There is also a boat trolley in the container. We now have a (yellow) 40 foot container at the lake, forming a U-shape with 2 others owned by Kore Sailing. Use the (new) combo code to get into the container for the boats, sweep oars, life jackets, safety gear etc.

Other International News

  • Several Christchurch Crews competed at Club Crew World Champs (Adelaide) in April 2016.
  • ABOL targetting Florence in 2018 - IBCPC has unveiled Florence, Italy as the venue for the 2018 International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission Festival. The event will take place on 6th, 7th and 8th June 2018.  Registration details will be available in 2016.

Team Profile pages

These have now been rebuilt, so that you can see all teams on one page. Just click the tabs to see each crew. They are split into 'Open' (Club based), Business based and the Schools. Please email us ( if you want your profile updated.

See new tips on Training, and Water safety

This summer

Aoraki dates for 2017-18 will be:

Aoraki dates for 2016-17 were:

  • "Aoraki AGM" was Thurs 11-Aug-16 from 7 pm
  • "Polar Blaster" was Sunday 21-Aug-16 at Lake Rua
  • "Cobweb Blaster" was Sun 25-Sept-16 at Lake Rua
  • "Sweep Training (Practical)" Sat 1-Oct from 9 am, at Lake Pegasus
  • "Sweep Theory Training" Sun 9-Oct-16
  • "Season Launch" Friday 14-Oct from 6pm at the Sydenham Pavilion. Download the Season Info pack here.
  • "Sweep Practical and Accreditation" Sun 16-Oct from 9 to 10 am, at Lake Pegasus
  • Training officially starts Tuesday 25-Oct
  • Working Bee Sunday 30-Oct-16 at Owles Tce.
  • "Corporate Intro/Give it a Go" - Sat 19-Nov from 10 am to 3 pm, at Lake Rua
  • "Sunday Schools" Intro day - Sun 20-Nov from noon to 4 pm, at Lake Rua
  • "Ice Breaker" - Sun 11-Dec-15 from 10 am to 3:30 pm, at Lake Rua
  • Sweep School, Sunday 8-January-17 at 10 am.
  • "Super 10" at Akaroa - Sun 22-Jan-17 at Childrens Bay, Akaroa Harbour - Cancelled due weather.
  • "Aoraki Open" (inc New Corporate extra Race Day) - Sun 26-Feb from 10 am to 3:30 pm, at Lake Pegasus (Lake Rua)
  • "South Island Champs" - Sat 25-March-17, at Lake Hood
  • "NZDBA National Champs" - at Lake Karapiro, on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th April.

Aoraki dates for 2015-16 were:

Dates for 2014-15 were:

... and highlights from earlier seasons:

See season 2008-09 :: 2009-10 :: 2010-11 (last season) or a list of all past regatta.

Aoraki Dragons represents all the Dragon Boat teams in the South Island of NZ, and works hard to provide the equipment and systems to run the sport. For example, Aoraki buys (all but 3 of) the 16 Dragon Boats, and maintains them all, stores them and transports them to the training areas and racing events.

If you are interested in joining one of the many Dragon Boat teams, please email us. We'll see you right...

Here are some ways we are getting more and more people involved in our favourite activity - Dragon Boat paddling!

Corporate Give-It-A-Go Day,

Toward the end of November, Aoraki brings together several Business houses for a 'crash course' in Dragon Boating. The latest was at Lake Rua on Saturday 7-November-15 from 10 to 2 or so. Abreast of Life Dragon Boat team ran the event, as a fundraiser to help them get to Adelaide in April 2016 for the Club Crew World Champs. Teams had so much fun, they are looking forward to when they can do it again. See more here.

The package includes pre-race “on the water” paddle instruction and race training, culminating in an afternoon of fierce competition between rival corporate teams.  We provide the Dragon Boats, paddles, buoyancy aids, qualified helms (“Sweeps”), instructors, safety boat and driver, Marshals, Results Officials, competitor safety briefing and race schedule.

In past years, for example Five new Corporate-based teams had a great introduction to Dragon Boating on Sunday 10-Nov-13. Great feedback, like: "you guys came across as a pretty slick operation (especially in dragon boat terms) and things ran like clockwork". It's always great to share the thrill of Dragon Boating!

Lake Rua hosting the Corporate Intro races

Spring Festival on the Avon

Teams joined Aoraki at the Spring River Festival on Sat 2-Nov-13 at Kerr's Reach. Avonside Girls HS, Christchurch Girls HS and Ridge Riders put on a great display.

Racing included a race to determine the KING OF THE RIVER, contested between Dragon Boats, Waka Ama, Kayaks and Rowers. Our elimination series showed Ridge Riders were the team to represent Dragon boating. Ridge took line honours, thanks to a handicap system, but Kayaking were closing fast. In the spirit of the Collaboration that Aoraki need to be part of, the codes agreed to share the trophy this year. Once the racing finished, a selection of Dragon Boaters took a Champion downstream past the narrows under Avondale Bridge, to meet Tipu Tai Tama Voyaging Trust's ceremonial waka, for the transfer of the special Waka Huia downstream to Owles Terrace Pontoon, where it was taken by street parade into New Brighton.

'Moving the boat forward'

Here is what Aoraki are doing to grow the sport and generate opportunities for paddlers.

Growing teams

Aoraki have been rolling out programs to improve the exposure of Dragon Boating. In 2012 we started the Secondary Schools Challenge, which brought in six new High Schools. And we now have an annual Corporate Give-it-a-Go day (click the "get involved" tab above) where business houses spend a morning or a full day at Lake Rua or Lake Pegasus, as an intro to the sport.

Up-Skilling: Sweeps and Coaches

Aoraki has been running the NZDBA's Sweep Accreditation system since 2013, where we share the knowledge and skills with those who want to take up the 'Long Paddle'. This includes a mentoring system and supervision during training, and assessment to ensure we have all helmsmen/women singing off the same sheet.

Aoraki runs several Sweep School Sessions per season, generally in October. This season included a Wednesday theory session (with a short test) then two opportunities at Lake Pegasus to learn some skills, and be assessed by Rick and Russell, who represent Aoraki on the "NZDBA Sweep Control Group".. More...

We have started a Coach the Coaches system, so that experienced Dragon Boat coaches can exchange learnings and tips, and develop techniques for developing their paddlers.

And with NZDBA we are bringing training and accreditation systems for those who want to become race officials.

Building the facilities.

Aoraki is expanding the options for paddlers. For example we have a great relationship with CCC for making use of facilities at Owles Terrace, plus Lake Rua, where we have bought a 40 ft Container for keeping our training gear safe for our paddlers.

Providing the best equipment

In December 2015 Aoraki placed another order with Champion Boats to import two more IDBF Standard Dragon Boats from Dalian Water Sports in China.

At the same time we have bought three of the Champion Boats that Auckland DBA are replacing, so that Aoraki will have a full fleet of FIFTEEN of the Standard 20-paddler boats, so that we can run a super-efficient National Championships event.

Aoraki also carries stock of PFD Life Jackets, spare training and racing paddles as well as all the gear necessary to run top quality regattas, and a very full dragon boat season.

Fresh from Swift in Shanghai"Super 12" Boats are here!

Aoraki's fleet of boats now includes six fantastic Swift "Ten Man" boats. These are particularly useful as they allow a club to can carry on paddling when they can't muster a full team. They are also great for 'festival' type events sucha as the January Super 12, or for a start up team or demo). See Facebook for more pictures...

This supplements our main fleet of 10 Champion "Standard" sized Boats (aka "20-Man"). Whoops, make that 15 Champions!

Thanks to the generous funding from Southern Trust , Aoraki has been able to grow this fleet of Champion Boats so that we can have a full fleet of 15 boats for 2016 Nationals, and after the 2015-16 season we will start to 'retire' some of the boats to key growth areas (like Nelson and Greymouth).

Aoraki will make sure they are still available from those centers if we need them for major events such as Nationals.

Affiliated to NZDBA updated: 14-Feb-2018 :: (c) Noel Anderton