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

Click these tabs to see the regatta Aoraki ran 2007 to 2008 (incl NZDBA Nationals).

Ice Breaker 2007

Note that 2007-08 was the first season for Aoraki Dragons so the focus was on getting boats to train and race in, and then find a venue and the means to put on a race day.

Dragon Boat committee had barely taken on the role of running the sport, and was not even named "Aoraki" till 30-Aug-07. Original committee was Meri Gibson (ABOL), Noel Anderton (Paddlateers), Vai Papali'i (Canty Paddling Club), Peter Mitchell and Lorraine Flintoff (Tu Meke), Rick Smith (Evacut), Julian Yee (Sampan Warriors), Terry Coyle (CCC) and Erina Parks.

Location, Date and Major Winners: not applicable

See all Ice Breaker history.

Early Bird 2008 - Chinese New Year

Saturday 9-Feb-08 was a landmark occasion. It was Aoraki's very first event, the inaugural Dragon Boat Regatta, held in conjunction with Chinese New Year (which fell on 7-Feb-2008).


The venue for the Dragon Boat racing was Kerr's Reach in Dallington. It signalled the start of a relationship with other users of the Avon River, in particular Canterbury Rowing, kayak and canoe clubs, Waka Ama and the Surf Life Saving.

At the end of racing, all participants seemed to agree it is a superb natural arena for the sport!

Major Results:

Teams were:

  • Spreydon Baptist Church
  • Abreast of Life
  • Shirley Boys
  • Riccarton High
  • Evacut Express
  • CIAL Flying Dragons
  • Shirley Boys/Girls High
  • Sampan Warriors
  • Paddlateers (Airways)
  • Beca Crewsaders
  • Tu Meke
  • Ridge Riders
  • Screws Loose
  • CCC Cruisers
  • CPC Canterbury Dragons

Results - Note these are from the HEATS only

  Open Best time:
1 Ridge Riders 2:31.30
2 CPC Canterbury Dragons 2:32.80
3 Abreast Of Life Chch 2:32.80
4 Tu Meke 2:34.10
5 Sampan Warriors 2:38.10
6 Spreydon Baptist 3:05.40

  Corporate Best time:
1 CCC (Cruisers) 2:29.60
2 P & N (Evacut) 2:29.65
3 Airways (Paddlateers) 2:32.00
4 Canty Prisons (Screws Loose) 2:32.30
5 Beca Carter (Crewsaders) 2:32.80
6 CIAL (Flying Dragons) 2:37.80

  Schools - Girls Best time:
  Riccarton HS 3:17.10

  Schools - Boys Best time:
  Shirley Boys 2:23.50

  Schools - Mixed Best time:
  Shirley Boys/Girls High  


Formal proceedings for the day started at 8:30 am with a very emotional Whakawaatea (or Maori blessing) by local kaumatua Riki Pitama. Pastor Graham Reid of Spreydon Baptist Church replied. Then a Lion Dance Troupe performed a stirring launching ritual for the boats.

Racing started around 9:30am, with each crew having four heats - the best three race times determined their place in the finals. Races were run at 10 minutes intervals, with three boats per race. Races included Corporate, Open and BCS teams, as well as school squads.

After the 500m Finals, a series of 200m sprint races were run. Trophy presentation was at about 4:15 after the last race (in the Riverside Pool Club).

Facilities onsite

Teams tent sites were allocated ('BYO' tents, table and furniture) along the top of the grassy knoll overlooking Kerr's Reach, with Porrit Park behind us to the east. These had prime viewing of the latter stages of the race, and a short stroll to "Crew loading". Tent sites are non-powered, but drinking water, toilets and showers were available at the Riverside clubrooms.

Six Portaloos plus a couple of flush toilets were set up between the tent area and Crew Loading. Food vendors (Chinese food, Pizza, Hot Dogs and fries, Coffee, Ice Cream etc) were set up near the tent area.

See all Early Bird history.

South Island Champs 2008

Aoraki's main Dragon Boat Regatta for 2008 was on Saturday 1-March (Corporate and Open) and Sunday 2-March-08 (Schools). This was the first full regatta to be staged on the Avon.

Date: 1, 2-Mar-08 (Sat, Sun)


Open Best time:
1 CPC Canterbury Dragons 149.47
2 Sampan Warriors 153.25
3 Tu Meke 149.10
4 Ridge Riders 154.21
5 Give It A Go (Spreydon Baptist) 163.93
6 Abreast Of Life Chch 168.29

Corporate Best time:
1 Airways (Paddlateers) 152.00
2 Canty Prisons (Screws Loose) 149.39
3 CIAL (Flying Dragons) 146.75
4 P & N (Evacut) 149.73
5 Beca Carter (Crewsaders) 151.86
6 CCC (Cruisers) 154.68

Open Grand Final (500m) was won by "CPC Canterbury Dragons" in 2 min 43.45 1, followed by Ridge Riders (2:43.53) and Sampan Warriors (2:43.70).

In the Open B Final, winners were "Tu Meke" in a very fast 2 min 38.20, then "Give It a Go" 2:59.49 and "Abreast of Life" (3:01.23).

Corporate Grand Final (500m) was won by "Screws Loose" (Corrections Dept) in 2 min 40.58, closely followed by Beca Crewsaders (2:41.00) and third were Airways "Paddlateers" (2:48.75).

Corporate B Final winner was "CIAL (Flying Dragons)" in 2:41.69 then "CCC Cruisers" (2:44.23) and Evacut Express (2:44.42)

Winner of the Partington Cup (500m) was "CPC Canterbury Dragons" in 2 min 42.97. Second was Screws Loose (2:47.35), then Tu Meke (2:48.21).

Schools - Girls Place in
500m heats
500m Final
Christchurch Girls HS 1 2, 1, 1 2:46.81 (GF, 1)
Marian College 1, 1, 1 3:02.95 (GF, 2)
St Margarets (White) 3, 1, 2 3:04.70 (GF, 3)
Christchurch Girls HS 2 1, 2, 3 2:56.80 (B, 1)
Avonside 2, 3, 2 3:02.38 (B, 2)
Villa Maria Girls 1, 2, 1 3:06.90 (B, 3)
St Margarets (Red) 3, 2, 2 3:31.92 (C, 1)
Riccarton HS Girls 2, 3, 3 3:46.87 (C, 2)

Schools - Boys Place in
500m heats
500m Final
Shirley Boys Gold 1, 3, 1 3:14.76 (1)
Shirley Boys Blue 3, 1, 3 3:29.36 (3)
St Bedes College (Bedeans) 2, 2, 2 3:21.82 (2)

Schools - Mixed Place in
500m heats
500m Final
Papanui H S 3, 3, 3 -


Girls Crews

Seconds Total Times Ranking
CGHS 1 171.90 174.32 161.46 507.68 1
CGHS 2 180.83 175.30 176.58 532.71 4
St Margarets White 175.80 176.88 176.55 529.23 3
St Margarets Red 195.28 180.73 178.60 554.61 7
Marion 171.80 173.15 168.94 513.89 2
Avonside 186.83 188.20 174.68 549.71 6
Papanui 999.00 3.00 3.00 1005.00 9
Riccarton High 194.29 193.74 178.87 566.90 8
Villa Maria 190.52 179.19 175.47 545.18 5

Boys Crews

Shirley Boys - Gold 163.60 166.70 151.81 482.11 1
Shirley Boys - Blue 174.44 160.76 161.23 496.43 3
St Bedes 172.18 161.96 152.26 486.40 2



See all South Island Champs history.

NZDBA National Championships 2008 - a true 'test'

Canterbury was extremely well represented at the NZDBA-sanctioned National Championships, hosted by Auckland Dragonboats on 29th and 30th-March-08 at Lake Pupuke. On behalf of South Island teams, Aoraki thanks Gavin Franicevic and NZDBA's Dave Elliott and their team for putting together a great event.

Adult team racing - Saturday 29-March

Corporate Grade

Screws Loose impressed with the power paddling throughout the day, showing the corporates how to win all the heats at a regatta! But our sympathy goes out to the Corrections crew who could not quite nail the crucial fifth win in the Grand Final! A very noble Silver to Pom and his team...

Open Grade

Canterbury DragonsMeanwhile, Canterbury Dragons and Tu Meke made the Open Grand Final.  But Lake Pupuke proved to be a very tricky venue to paddle on when the strong North Easterly whips across. To the Christchurch teams' cost, the swell meant they each took on a huge amount of water by about the three-quarter mark. But they battled on, draggin' the extra weight and coping with the now-rocking boats. In CPC's case they barely crossed the line before performing a quite graceful roll! Meanwhile, Tu Meke came to rest with about an inch of freeboard! 

Breast Cancer Division

Christchurch's Abreast of Life finished off a very full season with an impressive showing at the Nationals. Two weeks earlier they had competed well at the Wellington Festival, and Lake Pupuke say seven BCS gather for their ultimate showdown. 

Abreast of LifeA very strong crew from Gold Coast posted some very fast times during the day, but ABOL were probably the most consistent crew posting times of around 3:05. So this set them up for a prime lane position in the Division's Final.

A feature of racing on Pupuke had been the swell and cross winds, so the juggling and josttling on the start line was a key factor. The Race starter had to pick a time when all the boats were at least roughly ready, but unfortunately for ABOL, this coincided with when they were complying with orders to back-paddle.

But despite starting the race 'heading in the wrong direction' the crew translated their frustrations into a powerful race, to finish across the line a hare's breath behind Busting with Life from Auckland. These two New Zealand teams seem to have an ongoing battle each year where the trophy yoyos from one to the other.

As Chair Meri Gibson says "there is always next year to get it back again".

Schools Day - Sunday 30-March

Boys Schools

Well when it comes to Boys teams in New Zealand Dragon Boating, there is surely only one name to listen for - Shirley Boys High School. John Fox and Russell Stocks have developed an awesome group of boys who are fizzing whenever they get near a boat! They showed teams of all grades how to churn through the course, recording an astounding 2 minutes 10 seconds later on Sunday.

Girls Schools

St Margaret's girls were again lead by Rick Smith from Evacut (and Aoraki's Board). They are a team who certainly enjoy their sport, and it seems their Auckland trip is no exception.

The St Margaret’s team was fifth overall from 23 girls’ teams on Sunday. They won their first two heats and were second in their third. SMC made it into the Grand final against the two Epson Girls Grammar school teams, CGHS and Westlake Girls High. Unfortunately SMAC couldn’t match their pace in the final and finished fifth. It was a fantastic result with the girls determined to make amends after our disappointing showing in Christchurch.

Another of Aoraki's 'cooperative' is Scott Johnson of CIAL's Flying Dragons.  Or as Christchurch Girls High team calls him - "Iceman"! Well Scotty's team performed well again, taking home the Silver medal in the Girls Division (and providing heaps of entertainment for for the other passengers on their flight back to the Mainland).

Iceman described racing side by side by side with the two Epsom Girls Grammar School for 500m as "fantastic... thrilling beyond belief from this sweeps point of view". And thats what it's all about...

What did we learn?
As Meri Gibson comments, "teams who are going to travel to other centres should certainly contemplate a few training sessions at Lyttleton to keep their skills up in those sorts of conditions". 

ABOL paddled at both Wellington and Auckland and it would be very fair to say that with the three events, they all presented very different conditions. And river paddling doesn't give you enough preparation for that.

Aoraki hopes all Canterbury paddlers have enjoyed their season, and we are sure we have learnt plenty - enough to make next season even greater...

And of course all non-Auckland crews were keen to try out the ten new "Champion" boats. And the consensus is "they are great! Let's order some!"

Canterbury DragonsCanterbury Dragons

See all NZDBA Nationals history.

Affiliated to NZDBA updated: 10-Aug-2016 :: (c) Noel Anderton