Whilst there are many interesting local histories about New Plymouth residents and their relationships with the Waiwhakaiho River, an important facet of Sharing the Waiwhakaiho is to talk to current residents, including young people and understand their experiences of interacting with the river. The New Plymouth Kayak Club (NPKC) is one such group. The NPKC consists of a group of adventurers intent on making the most of the river rapids offered by the Waiwhakaiho. With regular and seasonally organised adventure outings that include White Water Kayak exploration, Sea Kayaking and Canoe Polo NPKC members share a love of white water kayaking and the natural environment that encases New Plymouth.
Promoting the conservation of the Waiwhakaiho River and river conservation across Taranaki is a primary foundation of the NPKC. As their website says, they aim To promote and advance the participation in White Water Kayaking including but not limited to White Water Kayak exploration, Sea Kayaking, Canoe Polo, River conservation by Taranaki residents and members.
Mark Garner a member of NPKC shared many of his white water stories with the living lab research team. He has kindly agreed to share some photos he has collected over the years of the white water kayakers in action.
The NPKC website provides a calendar and details of up and coming white water events, as well as a discussion forum and a photo gallery for club members to upload many of the photos and videos they take of white water activities. Their website also provides information about how to get involved in white water kayaking or become a member of the NPKC.
Garner shared his passion for white water with the Living Lab research team. Revealing that the Waiwhakaiho River is a prime spot for white water kayaking, NPKC members readily get an adrenalin rush as they take on the force of the river by adventuring through the rapids. The photos provided by Mark illustrate this experience, and the above image shows several kayakers battling through the white water rapids of the Waiwhakaiho. Garner informed the living lab research team that members of the NPKC happy being on the river for hours at a time engaging in this adrenalin rush.
His experiences of white water kayaking reveals a contemporary view of the way in which current New Plymouth residents come together and form social groups through mutual interest in the Waiwhakaiho River. A popular site for white water rapids is the Meetings of the waters, where the Mangamahoe hydro lake outlet meets the Waiwhakaiho River, not far upstream from Tupare.