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Rafting NZ & Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust Join Forces

RAFTING NZ & LAKE ROTOAIRA FOREST TRUST JOIN FORCES

• Rafting New Zealand signs agreement with Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust of Ngāti Tūwharetoa

• Investment will help double the size of the business, boost tourism numbers and improve opportunities for Turangi locals

Rafting New Zealand, the country’s most awarded rafting company is pleased to announce that it has entered into a joint venture with Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust (LRFT) of Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

It is a significant foray for the iwi into tourism, and LRFT’s first active tourism investment.

The agreement with LRFT will allow Rafting NZ to more than double in size – from approximately 12,000 customers per annum to 30,000 by year 2022. It will also help the business give visitors the best and most authentic experience possible. There are plans to improve and extend significantly over the coming months to allow Rafting NZ to meet its growth objectives.

Rafting NZ was founded in Turangi almost thirty years ago to provide visitors with a fun, safe white water rafting adventure with experienced New Zealand guides. It is run by Kiwi couple, Luke and Pianika Boddington, who pride themselves on giving customers a true sense of New Zealand’s landscape along with its Maori heritage and culture. The business has won multiple awards, including five certificates of Excellence in a row from TripAdvisor between 2014-18.

Luke Boddington, Rafting NZ Managing Director and co-founder said:

LRFT’s involvement will provide a multitude of benefits for customers, Turangi and the Tūwharetoa people. It aligns with both Rafting NZ and LRFT’s commitment to investing in the local Turangi community. We’re expecting an increase in customers as a result of our increased capacity and improved facilities. That will have an impact on the number of visitors staying and spending in Turangi and Taupo. It will also improve employment and training opportunities for locals. We’re looking to bring on at least 40 additional people by 2022.

According to LRFT, the hapū saw an opportunity in Rafting NZ to work with a tourism business that is passionate, highly experienced and invested in the good of the New Zealand environment and local communities. The partnership also aligns with the hapū’s goal of having a Maori owned enterprise operating on their river – the Tongariro River, which is located at the southern end of Lake Taupo in Turangi.

LRFT spokesperson, Tiwana Tibble explained:

Trees, trout and tourism are what we call the three ‘Ts’, which will form a significant part of Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust’s future business strategy. In these three areas we have world class capacity. It makes sense to invest in Rafting NZ, which operates on the Tongariro River. This river connects two significant ‘taonga’ of Tuwharetoa, being the Tongariro National Park and Lake Taupo.

Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust (LRFT) alongside the Lake Taupo Forest Trust (LTFT) manage a sustainable commercial pine forest of circa 30,000 hectares to the north of Tongariro National Park, and east of Lake Taupo. This is the largest ‘NZ owned’ commercial forest in the country with a combined balance sheet of $400m. The Trusts administer these lands on behalf of approximately 15,000 owners, all of whom are Ngati Tuwharetoa.

The Awa Toa Fund, which was set up by Rafting NZ to preserve lakes, rivers and streams for future generations, will be well funded by the boost in Rafting NZ sales, enabling it to make a very real difference both socially and environmentally. One percent of Rafting NZ sales go to the fund, which – among other things – is used to provide local Tūwharetoa with training, qualification and employment. It is also used to plant over a thousand native trees along the banks of the Tongariro River and contributes annually to help maintain the natural environment of one of New Zealand's most rare animals - the Whio (Whistling) Blue Duck.

Rafting New Zealand operates across two main locations – the southern end of Lake Taupo in the alpine village of Turangi (Tongariro River) and Taupo Township (Tongariro and Waikato Rivers).

For more information, visit raftingnewzealand.com. To follow the brand, like the Facebook page @raftingnz or follow the team on Instagram @teamrnz.

- Ends -

About Rafting New Zealand:

Based in Turangi and Taupo, Rafting New Zealand is New Zealand’s most awarded rafting company. It is run by Kiwi couple Luke and Pianika Boddington who love to share their passion for rafting New Zealand rivers with other budding adventurers.

Rafting New Zealand operates across two main locations – the southern end of Lake Taupo in the alpine village of Turangi (Tongariro River) and Taupo Township (Tongariro and Waikato Rivers). For almost 30 years, Rafting New Zealand has enabled visitors to immerse themselves in an awe-inspiringly beautiful part of Aotearoa. Customers can get a true sense of New Zealand’s landscape along with its Maori heritage and culture.

Rafting New Zealand is proud to only employ Kiwi guides and where possible Maori guides, who can share the Maori myths and legends that are relevant to the rivers and surrounding area. These guides can offer visitors a unique and authentic experience that is difficult to find anywhere else in New Zealand.

Rafting experiences are available for a wide range of ages and confidence levels – from the Grade 1 Thermal Float Adventure, where rafters will come across only small waves, to the much more challenging Grade 5 Wairoa Extreme Rafting Trip.

For more information, visit raftingnewzealand.com or follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust:

The Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust (LRFT) was established in 1973 to represent the interests of the owners of 85 separate Maori land titles located on the slopes of mounts Pihanga, Tongariro, Kakaramea and Kuharua, around the shores of Lake Rotoaira and Otamangakau, and in the upper Wanganui Basin.

Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust (LRFT) alongside the Lake Taupo Forest Trust (LTFT) manage a sustainable commercial pine forest of circa 30,000 hectares to the north of Tongariro National Park, and east of Lake Taupo. This is the largest ‘NZ owned’ commercial forest in the country with a combined balance sheet of $400m. The Trusts administer these lands on behalf of approximately 15,000 owners, all of whom are Ngati Tuwharetoa. For more information, visit lrft.co.nz.

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