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Police take to Kaituna River in annual raft race

Police take to Kaituna River in annual raft race

On Saturday March 12, 168 Police staff from around the North Island will compete for glory in the annual New Zealand Police National Raft Race on Rotorua's Kaituna River.

Forty-two teams of four people will compete in the event, coming from as far away as Wellington and Northland.

The event is in its third year, with the race being held on a 1.2 kilometre stretch of the Kaituna River. The course includes seven sets of Grade Three rapids, and three waterfalls – one of which is the world's highest commercially rafted wwaterfall.

Event organiser, Constable Aaron Holloway from Bay of Plenty District Headquarters, describes the race as "socially competitive".

"This is a highly contested event which has grown significantly from the nine teams who competed in the inaugural event. The rules state that there is to be no "grabbing" of other rafts – however competitive contact between the rafts is encouraged!

"This is a spectacular part of the country, and we are lucky to have the Kaituna River on our backdoor step. It’s the perfect location for the Police National Raft Race."

Constable Holloway says there will be seven heats held across the day, with the final expected to take place between 5pm and 6pm.

Teams enter the Kaituna River at Okere Falls, and raft over three waterfalls to reach the official start line below the Tutea Falls. One member from each team stands on a metre high rock, jumping into the river and swimming to the raft to officially start the race.

This year there will also be a womens only heat, with the winner of the heat receiving a winner's medal as well as entry into the finals. A river surfing race is also included on the programme, with 30 people entered in that event.

Constable Holloway says a Department of Conservation walking track adjacent to the Kaituna River provides excellent vantage points for supporters and members of the public.

For further information, check out www.nzpolicerafting.co.nz


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