Click these tabs to see the Adult teams race under Aoraki's umbrella. See also 'club' based teams and School teams.

Airways Paddlateers

Airways "Paddlateers"

From 2005 Nationals"Who Are We?"
"All For One"
and One For All

Airways Corporation have fielded a team in the Christchurch corporate division since about 1999. The Paddlateers have featured a steady core of employees and a few 'friends of friends' who cannot seem to leave the sport alone. For example, in 2010 Paddlateers have 18 return from the 2009 season.

Airways Paddlateers logoAirways has a fairly diverse range of employees, from radar controllers, technicians, international marketing, human resources, electricians, tower controllers, software engineers, administrators... And they all know the value of 'being in the same boat, on level pegging'.

Airways' first Dragon Boat manager/coach/sweep was Wayne Blythe, an ATC Manager at the national Air Traffic Centre in Roydvale Ave, Russley. Wayne transferred down from Auckland, where he was in Airways "Thunderbirds" Dragon Boat team.

For the last few years, the team coach has been Greg Okeroa, who is a radar controller, looking after Auckland's airspace. 

Greg found the role needed sharing in the team, so brought in Noel Anderton to look after the logistics of the team - keeping team members informed, organising the gear (from paddles to uniforms to food for the bbqs) and organising funding. When Noel became involved in Aoraki (and NZDBA and Oceania and as a Race Official) sweep Derrick Elliott stepped into the manager's role.

Paddlateers pride themselves of having plenty of fun in Dragon Boating; at regattas, training, after-session BBQs... And we are keen to see other teams sharing in the fun. See you on the water (we'll be the ones IN it!)

[esp at Nationals 2011, Blue Lakes!]

Key Team players:

  • Derrick Elliott (sweep, manager)
  • Noel Anderton (coach, drummer, assistant sweep)

Airways Wellington crew in 2000 NationalsLong servers:

  • Dan Stevens
  • Raylene Priest
  • Merryn Jones
  • Daniel Jimenez
  • Greg Okeroa (coach, to 2010)
  • Lis Stevenson
  • Yvonne Grant
  • Michelle Stickly
  • John McKenzie
  • Kaye McKenzie
  • Phil Gainsford
  • Kim Smith
  • Wayne Coumbe
  • Karen Smith (caller)
  • Danielle Smith (mascot)

Airways Corporation has been super-generous in financially supporting its Dragon Boat teams over the years, whether the teams are based in Auckland, Wellington (above) or Christchurch.


First formed in June 2012 by Dan Hunia and Reon Tiweka, ex Waimak Attack paddlers.



(how about a club profile, boys?)


Beca Crewsaders

The Beca Crewsaders hail from the Christchurch office of Beca; the New Zealand-based engineering consultancy.

Along with a few friends, they first started paddling in the 2006/07 season as complete novices.

Recently celebrating their 10th anniversary, they've come a long way since those bumbling early days. Through a combination of teamwork and discipline, the Crewsaders are now one of the most competitive teams in the Aoraki Association. Having been Aoraki Corporate champions for a number of years, they've also performed strongly at the National Championships. The 2016 event provided a record haul of bling, competing against the best Open-grade teams in the country; including 3rd place over the 500m distance and 2nd place over 200m.

Beca Crewsaders at Nationals 2016, Lake Hood

Throughout, the team has been very much about the Beca blue and white. In the 2016/17 season, for example, there's only one non-Beca member – and even he's an ex-employee. The company seems to keep employing new staff with paddling potential – and, no, it's not part of the office's employment policy. The team members range across multiple disciplines and from new graduates up to senior managers. Bonds made in the boat transcend working hierarchies or silos; everyone really does 'do it for the team'!

Much of the credit for the team's on-going improvement and success can be attributed to a hard core of long-serving team members:

  • At the back of the boat, waving the big stick around, and letting the wind blow through his long, flowing, blond locks is Judd Stanton. He's been the team's sweep ever since that first season, and he's still there, bellowing at his paddlers to give 110%. And he just happens to be one of the best sweeps in the country – just don't let him know that...
  • Right in the middle of the boat is Nik Stewart – half-man, half-outboard motor. He hardly says a word on or off the water; just letting his oarsome paddling do the talking. Like Judd, he's been there right from the beginning and has never been subbed out of a race. The team's coaches use Nik as the role model: "just try to do what Nik does"
  • Also near the middle, you'll find Sean Mortell, the team's resident joker. He likes to think of himself as one of the world's greatest comedians; unlike his paddling ability. He can't keep away – even though he's gone to the dark side and now works for one of Beca's competitors. But, God knows, someone's got to keep designing those purlins...
  • Up front, refining her binary counting skills is Amber Murphy (AKA "Little Miss Shouty Pants"); the team's caller. Almost as much as Judd, she likes to inflict pain on the crew – in training and on race day. Based on her calling and coaching skills, she likes to think she'd make a great paddler, but with those guns, the team's happy to have her banging away on her drum. She is, nonetheless, a key part in the team's on-going success
  • Somewhere in the boat, you'll find Ian Macbeth, the team's manager. He's the one trying to herd the 20-plus cats on regatta days. Over the last couple of seasons, he's been learning to sweep – the team loves his ability to do full circles on the river. Not finding the Crewsaders cat-herding enough of a challenge, he's now taken on the role of Secretary for the Aoraki Dragons.

Beca engineering consultantsThe Crewsaders have come to represent goal of 'One Team – One Vision' and are a great example of the company's core values of Partnership, Enjoyment, Tenacity and Care. See you on the water!

Chch City Council

CCC "Cruiser"

In what seemed like a lifetime ago (back in the early 90’s) Kyle Dow joined the CCC Dragon Boat Team, the first time the Council had entered a team. They were a fairly young team (in more ways Team manager Kyle Dowthan one) and it would be fair to say they enjoyed the social aspect of it as much as the competition. They trained once a week in the gym at the YMCA followed by a team meeting at the Dux and once a week on the water at Lyttelton. Training in “open water” at Lyttelton had its exciting moments including once losing our sweep off the back as a big wave hit.

Kyle recalls the pre-race party at the Police station, the parade down Colombo Street and of course the after race party on the wharf at Lyttelton.

The CCC kept a team in the competition for a few years and enjoyed some great racing in Lyttelton harbour. However, as the competition became more commercial, the focus on the event giving to a good charity was lost and the cost of entering and training went up. It was about this time that the people who were the driving force in our team pulled out and the CCC team was no more, for the time being at least…

Then in 2007 a few people with an interest in Dragon Boating got together, managed to get some funding and the CCC Dragon Boat Team was on the scene again! With only a couple of paddlers who had done it before, it was a steep learning curve. However they got back in the boat and in no time at all it was like most of the team had been doing it all their lives, and of course they still had a good social side to the team, and training was still at Lyttelton!

The team got into Dragon Boating for lots of different reasons, but being a corporate team from a large organisation, one thing that you get is to meet people you would’ve never come in contact with and those people can become great friends and great contacts to have from a work perspective too. "I know for me, some of the people I was in the team with back in the early 90’s are still around the Council" says Kyle "and I still call on them for help occasionally and I even catch up with some of the old team for an after work beer on a Friday night"

City CouncilKey Team players:

  • Kyle Dow (manager)

Long servers:

  • Ian McKenzie (Sweep)
  • Judy Krom

The Cruisers are grateful for the ongoing generous financial support from Christchurch City Council.

CIAL Flying Dragons

CIAL "Flying Dragons"

VaiVai Papali'i [right] is the manager who paddled for CIAL Flying Dragons then moved to CPC for Waka ama, and is back at CIAL.

'The Airport Company' have been involved in Dragon boating for many years, but had a break from the sport in 2009 and 2010.

Vai Papali'i resurrected the team in December 2010, and had them back on the water from 10-January-2011. While most teams were still training at Lake Pegasus, Flying Dragons chose to move back to Owles Terrace and the Avon River.

CPC merged with CIAL for a while

In 2007 CPC lined up against CIAL Flying Dragons, in the Waka ama Super 12's using Dragon boat paddles.

Key Team players:

  • Vai (Vay) Papali'i (manager)

P1 St John Ambulance Dragon Boat Team

It’s been 10 years since the last St John Ambulance Dragon boat team took part in the sport in Canterbury.

For some people though, the love of the sport runs very deep and finally the embers that smouldered away within one of the paddlers in that original team have been fanned into life and a new group of keen paddlers, all members of the organisation, have enthusiastically committed to this season.

The members in this new team range in age from the early 20’s to the mid 50’s (names have been withheld to protect the writer of this article). Only a couple of them have had any experience in Dragon Boat teams in the past so what can you expect from this new team?

It will be a team that will give their utmost to master the fundamentals of what makes a dragon boat go fast. They will train hard and race even harder. Don’t underestimate the competitive nature of many of the paddlers in this group! We’re realistic though and don’t expect to be world beaters in this first year of competition. We’re going to have fun too… Lots and LOTS of fun.

Evan Roper
Founder/ex Coach and sweep

Key Team players:

  • Jan Cairney (Team captain)
  • Sheryl Dampier (Manager).

Long servers:

  • (first season is 2013-14)