Rotorua has been selected to host the 2013 World Rafting Championships in November next year following a successful international bid by Rotorua District Council, Kawerau District Council and NZ Rafting Association.
The New Zealand bid triumphed over strong competition from Japan and Serbia and it will be the first time the international event has been staged in New Zealand.
Around 50 teams of six rafters from throughout the world are expected to compete in the open event, while more teams will compete in the world youth section. The event is also expected to attract a large number of officials, supporters and spectators, and will generate significant international media exposure.
Rotorua will be the base for all participants for the duration of the event, while the competition will take place on Kaituna, Rangitaiki and Tarawera rivers.
The Kaituna River will host the open time trials and head-to-head races, the youth event and open slalom will be on the Tarawera River in Kawerau, and the down-river race will be on the RangitaikiRiver.
Rotorua District Council event manager Martin Croft said that it was a spectacular coup for Rotorua to secure another major international sporting event and he was sure the local community would get right behind it.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Rotorua has been chosen to host the event. Our two councils and the NZ Rafting Association, along with many local people associated with rafting, have been working hard over the last six months to secure this event and the big announcement means our efforts have been rewarded.
“Rotorua’s experience in major event management is among the very best in New Zealand. In the last five years alone the city has run seven world events including the 2006 World Mountainbike Championships, 2007 World Water Ski Racing Championships, 2008 World Fly Fishing Championships, 2008 Indo Pacific Tumbling and Trampolining Championships, 2009 World Blind Sailing Championships, 2009 UCI Trials World Cup, and 2010 World Single Speed Championships.
“And of course we successfully hosted three Rugby World Cup test matches last year.
“The world rafting champs promise to be a great event for the region and of substantial economic benefit. We’ll not only get to see the best rafters in action up close, but the championships will provide the opportunity for our area to be promoted to the world as an top class rafting Mecca.”
Mr Croft says it has also been a great opportunity to collaborate closely with Kawerau District Council on an international event.
“Kawerau has a superb river location for rafting and lots of experience in hosting national kayaking events. Their expertise and Rotorua's history of successfully hosting world class events bodes well for a great experience for participants.”
New Zealand Rafting Association will also run a ‘pre-worlds’ competition in November this year (2012) to trial the rivers and simulate conditions for next year’s world championship event.
The last World Rafting Championships was held in Costa Rica in 2011.