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

Click these tabs to see the Aoraki training sites. See also "Introductory sessions"

Lake Pegasus, north Canterbury

Please be aware that Lake Pegasus is now subject to a health warning from the Canterbury District  Health Board (CDHB) following identification of potentially toxic blue-green algae in the lake (see details here: Land Air and Water Aotearoa - Lake Pegasus cyanobacteria warning). This has become pretty much an annual occurrence now and in some ways I'm surprised it's taken this long to occur after such a hot summer.

As a result, those teams that train at Pegasus will now need to move to other training locations. The Waimak teams and the Rangiora HS team will be re-locating training to the Kaiapoi River with immediate effect.

We're in the process of moving boats around to accommodate, noting that no boats will remain at Pegasus beyond this weekend. This will put a bit more pressure on training times at the northern training venues (i.e. Kaiapoi River and possibly Lake Rua), but I don't think there should be any clashes. Please be accommodating of others, though.

Not great news, but at least we've managed to get all our regattas completed without interruption

D Day Lake Pegasus Start Off the Water Contact
1 Monday - - - -
2 Tuesday - - - -
3 Wednesday - - - -
4 Thursday - - - -
5 Friday - - - -
6 Saturday - - - -
7 Sunday - - - -

Remember, the small-bridge area is Out of Bounds. Under the Swing Bridge is OK, but the gaps under the eastern bridge are too narrow for safe passage.

If you need access to the boats, contact Rick Smith for the padlock codes etc.

Which is yet another reason to let Aoraki know when your team wants to train at Lake Pegasus or Lake Rua or Owles Terrace.


Lake Rua (part of "Roto Kohatu")

D Day Lake Rua/Roto Kohatu Start Off the Water Contact
1 Monday - - - -
2 Tuesday Abreast of Life 18:00 19:00 Peter PJ Johnson
2 Tuesday ABOL Amazon Hearts 18:00 19:00 Noel Anderton
2 Tuesday Airways Paddlateers 18:30 19:30 Noel Anderton,
Derrick Elliott
2 Tuesday Sampan Wariors 18:30 19:30 Raymond Cooper,
Rosalie Mehlhopt
3 Wednesday - - - -
4 Thursday Sampan Warriors 18:00 19:00 Raymond Cooper,
Rosalie Mehlhopt
4 Thursday Abreast of Life (occasionally) 18:00 19:00 Peter PJ Johnson
4 Thursday ABOL Amazon Hearts (occasionally) 18:00 19:00 Noel Anderton
5 Friday - - - -
6 Saturday - - - -
7 Sunday - - - -

Another popular site is "Lake Rua" which is just north of Johns Rd, near the Airport. This makes it very handy for teams like Airways and Aurecon Engineering. And especially handy for the School teams like St Margarets, Riccarton and Hillmorton. Aoraki is grateful to CCC Park Ranger Arthur Adcock for allowing us (and Kore Sailing and one or two other groups) to use the smaller of the lakes at Roto Kohatu.

NOTE: during summer, Lake Rua has Boats beside the containers that you can use. We now have a 40 foot container at the lake and so use the standard Combination number to get into the side door of the yellow container for the sweep oars, life jackets, safety gear etc. If you have forgotten your paddles you may borrow the ones in the container but please return them. There are several boats at Lake Rua at the moment - Champion 20-paddler boats and Swift 10-Man boat -see below.

NOTE: There is a DETOUR in place. Access to Greywacke Rd WAS directly off Johns Rd (OPPOSITE the Harewood Crematorium). But since the road widening work, we now have to enter from Sawyers Arms Rd:

  • From Johns Rd roundabout, head north on Sawyers Arms Rd
  • Go just past the Highway Inn (on your left)
  • Continue past Logistics Drive/Greywacke Road.
  • Turn right into the grand entrance to the Lake Roto Kohatu area.
  • Go through the 'lower' carpark and take the track over the hill and past the Jet Ski Lake - it is actually called Lake Tahi, but it says "Lake Roto Kohatu" on the map.
  • Drive SLOWLY past the Canoe Polo area and through the gate. It leads onto the Causeway betwee Lake Tahi (to your left) and Lake Rua (on your right).
  • Turn right before the causeway, and drive along the SE side towards the containers.

Access Lake Rua via the Sawyers Arms entrance to the JetSki lake


Teams launch from this end of the lake (Eastern end) This is our 250 metre sprint start line
Teams launch from this end of the lake (North Eastern end) This is our 250 metre sprint start line
Plenty of shelter for training in nearly all conditions Plenty of parking for training paddlers, or on race days
Plenty of shelter for training in nearly all conditions ... ... and ample parking for training paddlers, or on race days.

Owles Terrace, New Brighton

D Day Avon River Start Off the Water Contact
1 Monday - - - -
2 Tuesday Marian College 17:00 18:30 Bronwyn Bennie
2 Tuesday Ridge Riders 18:30 19:30  
3 Wednesday - - - -
4 Thursday Abreast of Life BCS 18:00 19:00 Peter PJ Johnson
4 Thursday ABOL Amazon Hearts 18:00 19:00 Noel Anderton
4 Thursday Marian College 17:00 18:30 Bronwyn Bennie
4 Thursday Ridge Riders 18:30 19:30  
5 Friday - - - -
6 Saturday - - - -
6 Saturday ABOL BCS and Amazons 09:00 10:00 PJ and Noel
7 Sunday   10:30 11:30 -

Note, Tu Meke Prem Womens say they will have "Only a couple of sessions [at Owles Tce] closer to SI Champs + Nationals". Similarly, Tu Meke Prem Mixed say they will have "Only a couple of sessions [at Kaiapoi] closer to SI Champs + Nationals".

Note, ECAN has now approved the proposal (put up by Arawa and Canterbury Rowing) regarding the current Navigation Safety Bylaw. "In terms of Dragon Boats, now means the following changes:

  • Dragon boats now travel on the LEFT of the river (whether travelling UP-stream or DOWN-stream) - note that this is all forward facing craft, including larger craft which previously travelled on the right along the same path as the rowers. By going in the opposite direction to much faster rear-facing rowed craft, we should negate the danger of being rear ended, and can see any potential hazard coming in front of us.
  • All 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. Under the old bylaw, craft are expected to pass on the left hand side of oncoming rowing craft. This has created multiple problems, as firstly rowers find it difficult to judge the size of the gap they need to leave, and secondly some crews are not coxed, so do not see oncoming craft. This was dangerous, and the main cause for the change.

Proposed by Paul Fidow (Arawa Canoe Club) and agreed by ECAN Harbourmaster Gary Munch.

Arawa Canoe Club proposal

Of course Teams generally prefer to train closer to their home, so training on the Avon River appeals to many. Long term storage of Aoraki gear (at the old CCC Maintenance Yard in Owles Terrace, in New Brighton) means city teams/those in the east have a handy venue. Aoraki Dragons collaborate with "New Brighton Waka Sports Association" to use the ex-CCC maintenance yard next to the Avon River, with access from Owles Terrace (at the Pages Rd end).

Even when Ecan says the polution is no worse than before the earthquake, Aoraki does NOT RECOMMEND paddling in the Avon. Rua and Pegasus water is cleaner than Avon on a good day. But some teams have taken full responsibility for the health and safety of their paddlers, and Aoraki makes the boats available provided they can be safely transported to the water (ie negotiate the badly damaged ramps and obstacles) AND provide safe storage.

Kaiapoi River, North Canterbury

Note, Tu Meke Prem Mixed say they will have "Only a couple of sessions [at Kaiapoi?] closer to SI Champs + Nationals". Similarly, Tu Meke Prem Womens say they will have "Only a couple of sessions [at Owles Tce] closer to SI Champs + Nationals".

D Day Kaiapoi River Start Off Water Contact
1 Monday Waimak Thunder 18:15 19:15 Marie Childs
2 Tuesday Northern Phoenix 18:30 19:30 Mike Robinson
2 Tuesday Sampan Warriors 18:00 19:00  
3 Wednesday Waimak Attack 18:15 19:45 Rick Smith
3 Wednesday Waimak Thunder 18:15 19:45 Marie Childs
3 Wednesday Rangiora HS 16:45 17:45  
4 Thursday - - - -
5 Friday Northern Phoenix 18:30 19:30 Mike Robinson
6 Saturday - - - -
7 Sunday Sampan Warriors 09:00 10:00  
7 Sunday Northern Phoenix (only if tide is OK) 10:00 11:00. Mike Robinson
7 Sunday Waimak Attack 09:00 10:00 Rick Smith
7 Sunday Rangiora HS 10:30 11:30  
7 Sunday Ridge Riders 17:00 18:00  

A compound adjacent to the Kaiapoi River, off Raven Quay, just upstream from the footbridge at the end of Black Street.

Loading ramp

The above picture shows the loading ramp from the fenced compound, to the Kaiapoi River - take care, it can be very slippery.

This boat has long since moved to Greymouth, but for some time it lived in the fenced compound.


On the water training is as shown in the tabs (one hour slots), at Lake Rua, Pegasus or Owles Terrace, New Brighton.

NEWS - Coach the Coaches

Aoraki ran a very useful training day at the end of August. Aimed at any team coaches, new or experienced, Rick Smith coordinated the session at Airways in Russley on Sunday 30th August from 10 am to 2 pm (lunch provided). Topics included The essence of coaching • Motivating for performance • Getting a team started • Teaching the basics • Developing a coaching plan for each session and for the season • Setting Goals and measuring progress • Working with a school team: How to make it easy for new schools • Taking a team from social to competitive. Presenters included the highly energetic Marg Foster (of and the ex Netball Player and Coach for Canterbury Flames and the Silver Ferns) and our local experts Evan Roper, Rick Smith and Russell Stocks.

Sweep Training and Accreditation

Each season Aoraki runs Sweep training, which consists of a theory session (in a classroom) and practical session(s) at Lake Pegasus. Email to register. For exxample on 3rd and 10th Ocober 2015 from 11 am at Lake Pegasus, candidates were Sharon Henderson (CCC), Kyle Treacy (Tu Meke), Shaun Butler (P1) and Laura Ross (Waimak).

Regular season

Official start to Training is after Labour Weekend (eg 27-October-15). Teams should email with their request for 'training slots', and also when they know of any changes (including cancellations). Please ensure your crew are fully familiar with the safety protocol (esp 5.10 to 5.20).

How long can I train for?

NZDBA have lifted the restrictions on the number of training sessions that any team can have. In the past, Corporates have been limited to 10 sessions per season. NZ Dragon Boat season ends at the end of March/ early April, and starts again after Labour Weekend.

'Designated' training starts after Labour Weekend (ie late October). There will be about 7 weeks before the Aoraki Ice Breaker (early December) and another week or so training before the Christmas break. Training resumes about a week into the new year (about 10-Jan). This will allow about eight weeks training before the South Island Champs (early March), and another one or two before the Nationals. This gives about 19 weekly sessions.

Winter training

Note, teams may continue their training over winter if they wish - please email

Where are the boats at?

Over winter, the boats all go back to Owles Terrace, New Brighton. But after Cob Web Blaster (end of September) Aoraki moves the small Swift Boats (10-paddler) and Champion (20-paddler) Boats to training venues as follows. HOWEVER, beware that they may be shifted in the days before a regatta (eg from Thursday or earlier).

Loc Champion 20 man Swift 10 man Trolleys
Owles 7 2 3
Rua 3 2 1
Pegasus moved wef 17-Feb-18 moved wef 17-Feb-18 3
Kaiapoi River 3? 2? 0
Total: 12 (+2 new boats, not for training) 6 7

Note that three of the "Champions" ( 20-paddler boats) belong to teams. These black boats have been bought by Tu Meke, CPC Canterbury Paddling Club and Abreast of Life, so please use a red boat in preference.

One of the Champion boats (the CPC boat) has been loaned to Nelson on a long term basis - free for them to use so long as it is actively used for paddling, training or racing.

Some old boats have 'gone south’. One was in the maintenance compound at Lake Hood, but they will 'retire' it to the children's playground - a brilliant idea. Another has gone to Dunedin. And the 'graffitti boat' has been in Greymouth since Dec 2012. A fourth old boat is on semi-permanent loan to the Tipu Tai-Tama Voyaging Trust.

See also Water Safety and Training tips. Also Training for Sweeps and Coaches.

Affiliated to NZDBA