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

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Dunedin Masters 2012

A serious attempt was made to include Dragon Boating as one of the options for entrants to the NZ Masters Games in 2012, but the promotion to teams was not successful, so the Dragon Boat aspect was withdrawn.

NZ Masters Games

Aoraki Dragons worked with Dunedin City Council with the intention of bringing Dragon Boating to the "NZ Masters Games" in February 2012.

BUT: unfortunately, there were too few teams or individuals registering an interest in racing, so on 16-January-12, Aoraki had to make the difficult call to withdraw Dragon Boating from Masters 2012.

But we will return...

Racing was planned for an exciting new venue, the Taieri River which offers a warm and sunny valley setting. Teams were to be shuttled from the Masters Games base (Forsythe Barr Stadium) to the Taieri River near Dunedin Airport. After a full race card of paddling, load back onto the bus be chauffer driven back to the party!

The Regatta was scheduled for Friday 10-Feb-11 and Saturday 11-Feb-2012.

Day 1 : Sprints Racing

The first day's racing will feature simple 250 metre sprints, starting at the opening of the eastern (right hand) end of the race area, heading west and finishing just in front of the bridge. See map for Sprints.

Day 2 : Turns Races

On Day 2 (Saturday) races will be the longer distance "Turns Races". Note the races will probably be 1,000, but depending on feedback we can easily extend this to 2,000 metres.

The Champion Boats gather in front of the Finish Tower and at 15 second intervals they head (east) to a turning buoy about 200 meters out (see map). Boats turn left around the buoy and race back westward and under the bridge, then make another left hand turn around a buoy and back under the bridge. Repeat the racetrack for a finish opposite the finish line tower.

Divisions and age groups

Age groupings As at 9-Feb-2012
Future Masters:
30 years +
40 years +
Grand Masters:
50 years +
Great Grand Masters:
60 years +

If there are less than 4 qualifying teams in any Age Grouping, Aoraki reserves the right to consolidate them with a younger division.

Any gender paddler, drummer or sweep
Minimum 8 female paddlers
All female including drummer and Sweep
Breast Cancer Survivor:
All BCS including drummer and Sweep

Note, original plans were for the Turns Race to be on Friday with Sprints on Saturday. These have been switched, because of the logistics required to set up the race lanes etc.

Races are on Taieri River, which is about 130 metres wide at this point. Teams have marquee shelters along the south bank, with uninterrupted views to the mirror-flat racing area in front of them. A broad bridge crosses the river just to the right of the Finish Line, and there is full viewing of the whole race area.Map from Dunedin...


Aoraki thanks the efforts of Aaron Joy, Games Manager for the Dunedin (New Zealand) Masters Games Trust.


Dunedin mini-regatta 2009 (2009-10 season)

The first Otago event in seven years was held on Waitangi Day, Friday 6-Feb-09 in Steamer Basin, Otago Harbour (Custom House Quay).

In November 2008, Otago Museum staff approached Aoraki Dragons to help run a festival in conjunction with a major Chinese Cultural display they had planned. Aoraki agreed to showcase Dragon Boating as part of their exhibition "THE EMPEROR’S DRAGONS"

Members of Aoraki exec and several Christchurch Paddlers drove down Thursday to Saturday to compete, and to organise the racing.

Local teams were:

  • DCC Dragon Boat Team
  • Pacific@ Otago University
  • Otago Museum "Exhibitionists"
  • OSCA (Otago Southland Chinese Association)
  • Deloittes "Barbarians"

The story according to the ODT:

"I think we ate too many sausages," said Naomi Ma, after her Pacific Islands dragon boat team won the prize for most spectacular capsize at the inaugural Emperor's Dragon Boat festival yesterday.


Six teams took part in the festival on Otago Harbour at Steamer Basin yesterday, but the contest was cut short before the last round and final races, due to rising swells.

Miss Ma, a human nutrition student, said her team of 22 Pacific Islanders competing for the University of Otago enjoyed their first dragon boat festival, especially as the boat began taking on water: "We all just started laughing."

Festival spokesman, Cathryn Edwards, of Otago Museum, said despite the cancellation of the last round and final, the crowd of more than 1000 people enjoyed three rounds.

"The teams are inexperienced, so at 1.30pm with the swells getting up we decided to cancel the racing and go straight to the awards."

The festival, held to promote the museum's Emperor's Dragons exhibition, may be turned into an annual Waitangi Day event, she said.

"I think people really enjoyed themselves."

Aoraki Dragon Boat chairwoman Meri Gibson, of Christchurch, said while the conditions were some of the roughest she had experienced, "it was a great festival".

The Christchurch-based club, which supplied the dragon boats, would leave one in Dunedin so the sport could become established in the city.

"It is a great location, good atmosphere; it has the potential to hold an international event here," she said.

Ms Gibson, a breast cancer survivor, said she took up the sport to aid her recovery and it had been "invaluable".

Results: DCC Dragons 1, OSCA (Otago Southland Chinese Association) 2, Otago Museum Exhibitionists 3

Approximate Schedule of Events was:

7.30am - Event set up begins incl Boats moved to Otago Yacht ramp on the Harbour then towed to the ramp.
9.30am – Teams and rescue crew arrive for safety/capsize briefing by Aoraki DBA
10.30am – Boats positioned for ‘eye dotting’
11am – Welcoming formalities, ritual eye dotting by the Mayor of Dunedin.
11.30am – Round One – Race 1
12.00pm – Round One – Race 2
12.30pm – Round Two – Race 1
1.00pm – Round Two – Race 2
1.30pm – Round Three – Race 1
2.00pm - Round Three – Race 2
2.30pm – B Final
3.00pm – A Final
3.30pm – Prize Giving
4pm - Pack up
Boats back to U shed for the night
6.30pm - Post event debrief the Wharf Hotel
7.30am Saturday 7 February – Boats picked up from U shed..



Dunedin had a very strong Dragon Boat scene in the early days.

See also Ice Breaker - Super 12 - Aoraki Open - South Islands - Nationals

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