FAQ- KASK Kayak Fest 2020 – Urupukapuka Island

27th annual KASK, New Zealand Sea Kayaking Forum – for those passionate about paddling

This document has important information and frequently asked questions (FAQ) you need to know about the event activities, venue, and how to get to the KASK Kayak Fest 2020 – Urupukapuka Island.

  • Please ensure you read this information carefully, to get maximum enjoyment from the event.
  • Take careful note of the biosecurity matters you need to deal with before you leave home.


Is this event for me?

Event registration

What is included in the registration fee:

What is not included in the registration fee:

What is included in the programme of activities?”

Where will I camp?

Getting to the launch point – Kaingahoa Bay

Parking at Kaingahoa Marae

Getting from launch spot to the Otehei Bay campsite

Biosecurity requirements

Back to Basics Camping

What catering is included?

Suggested gear list

I am travelling from overseas, is it possible to
hire a kayak and equipment and be able to pick it up at the launch site at
Kaingahoa Bay, Rawhiti?

Photo and Video Competition

Can I come early to explore the area?

Risk Management – Bad weather / Plan B

Official cancellation of the event

International Kayak Week (IKW)


KASK Kayak Fest 2020 (the 27th annual KASK New Zealand Sea Kayaking Forum) will be held on Urupukapuka Island, that sits pride of place in the Bay of Islands, over the weekend of 6 – 9 February 2020. The island is a wildlife sanctuary, and part of Project Island Song. LINK The event will be unique and memorable with plenty of opportunities to paddle, share ideas, and learn on and off the water.

KASK Kayak Fest 2020 – Urupukapuka Island is an event with an emphasis on paddling skill development. It is an opportunity for paddlers with differing skills to ‘rub shoulders’ with legends and be able to “to take their paddling to another level”.

Is this event for me?

If you are an experienced strong beginner, intermediate or advanced paddler, who can competently carry out a self-rescue in 15 knot winds with roughish conditions, and are comfortable paddling in possibly above 15 knot winds, then this is the event for you, you will hone your skills and learn so much more from international instructors. This event is not suitable for absolute beginners/novice paddlers.

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Event registration

Do I have to be a member of KASK to attend the event? No, however we encourage you to join during the registration process.

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What is included in the registration fee:

  • Camping fees
  • Welcome, meet and greet on the Thursday evening
  • Training sessions on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Guest speakers on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights
  • All meals – continental breakfast x 3, lunch x 3, dinner x 3, pre-dinner snacks, or
  • All meals, minus lunch, which is self-catering. (Select this on the registration form).

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What is NOT included in the registration fee:

  • Tent and camping equipment
  •  Paddling snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Non-paddling (ie motorised) arrival or departure from the island.
  • Parking Optional in the grounds of the Kaingahoa Marae at 243 Rawhiti Road for 3 nights (Thurs, Fir, Sat) This can be paid with your registration
  • Parking for extra nights cannot be included in your Kayak Fest registration payment, and must be paid separately to the Kaingahoa Marae.

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What will be included in the programme of activities? 

The program is still being formulated and finalised – it is a melting pot of ideas.  We will update this page as we progress.

What we can promise you is:

  • You will be challenged, inspired, stimulated, and encouraged to try new things, harder things. You will not just participate but contribute. There will be opportunities to learn or re-learn from the best, to fine-tune and hone your skills, and try things not just once, but twice.
  • You will get wet! You’ll be on the water and in the water and ‘on your toes’ as you are introduced to different skills under the banner of white stuff, manoeuvres, rolling and rescues. And if you are already a pro at all of that then try something different like Greenland paddling or navigation… or help out.
  • You will be surrounded by a bunch of folk like yourself – passionate about and addicted to sea kayaking, all fired up to learn, to share knowledge and skills, to help each other achieve.
  • You will be instructed by, or sit at the table and converse with, people who may have paddled around the odd island or two (the Aleutians or Australia or perhaps Stewart), camped in bear territory (polar, black, brown), seal-launched with seals, sweated it out in California or Canada, wrestled crocodiles, photographed birds in Arctic and Antarctic waters…
  • You will be able to enter your best paddling photos into one the many categories or short video clips in the photographic competition.
  • You will have fun; come, make your boat dance and your heart sing.

Where will I camp?

We are extremely fortunate to be able to use the facilities of Otehei Bay owned by Explore Group LINK. Otehei Bay is on the south eastern end of Urupukapuka Island, about 3.6km (a 45 mins to less than 1 hour paddle) from the launch site at Kaingahoa Bay. You will be met on arrival at Otehei Bay, and shown where to camp and where to leave your kayak.

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How do I get to the launch point – Kaingahoa Bay

From the Russell Road exit on State Highway 1, it takes about 1 hour and 5mins to drive to the Kaingahaoa Bay Marae and ‘launch point’.

The precise location of the Marae can be found on Google Earth at latitude and longitude coords (35o 14.169 S, 174 o 15.645 E). From the road the Marae grounds will look like a ‘camping ground’.

Go to Google Maps and enter the destination as ‘Kaingahao Bay ’.

  1. From Junction of State Highway 1 and Old RussellRoad/Russell Road – head north along Russell Road (Signs to Oakura) for 38.5kms
  2. After 38.5kms turn right onto Rawhiti Road and proceed for a further 15.4 kms

For further details, go to www.wises.co.nz and enter ‘Whakapara/State Highway 1’ as your starting point and ‘Kaingahoa Bay, Rawhiti as your destination.

On arrival at Kaingahoa Bay, from mid-morning on Thu 6th you will be met by guides who will show you where to unload your kayak and where to park your car at the Kaingahoa Marae. [Back to Top]

Parking at Kaingahoa Marae

Parking has been arranged in the family owned Marae grounds (there is no on-street parking).

If you are towing a trailer, or driving a motor-home, you will be required to select ‘quantity 2’ on your registration form, as a trailer/motor-home takes up two parking spots. If you are car sharing, only one person needs to pay for the parking. Guides will meet you at the entrance of the Marae to show you where to park. [Back to Top]

How do I get from the launch spot to the Otehei Bay campsite?

All paddlers should be capable of paddling to and from the island, in a supportive group (pod) or solo (if you wish). It is specifically asked that NO crossing leaves before 10am.

The distance from the launch site at Kaingahoa Bay to Otehei Bay is about 3.6km (approx 45 mins paddle).

Guides will take pods across the channel to Otehei Bay, leaving Kaingahoa Bay, from 10am and thereafter every 30 mins until 2pm.

Non-Paddlers Getting to the camp site:
Ferries from Paihia / Russell to Otehei Bay – Explore Group have arranged a discounted rate of $35 return trip. Bookings can be made using their website and a promocode – effective from December 2019.

If you need to go back to your car, that is parked at the Marae, you could telephone BOI Water Taxi  based at Rawhiti on 09 4025454, and be transported there and back for a small fee.

Otehei Bay Venue Map

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Biosecurity requirements

Kauri dieback disease:  What do I have to do?

Urupukapuka Island, is an wildlife sanctuary and part of Project Island Song.  Rare and endangered birds are being returned to these islands making them special places to visit. Now is your chance to help protect native birdlife on Urupukapuka.

Any gear (especially footwear) that has been used in areas that may harbour kauri dieback disease must be disinfected before touching the island.  Please take care of this at home before leaving.  There will be a ‘Trigene’ spray and hard brush available at Kaingahoa Bay as a “last resort” cleaning opportunity – do not allow any suspect shoes to touch the island until they have been treated.

Does the island have any pests?

The island is one of the pest free islands in the Bay of Islands. Pests threaten the native wildlife thriving on the island and can accidentally arrive with you – in or on your footwear and gear. So before you leave home please:

  • Check your kayak and gear for rats, mice, ants, and skinks.
  • Clean any dirty gear and footwear – remove all soil and seeds. That includes your tent, ground sheets and sleeping bags.
  • Pack all food into sealed (preferably hard plastic) containers.
  • Make sure your bags have no holes, and if zipped that the zip works. Seal any holes with tape e.g. tape up drawstring closures.
  • Never leave bags open and unattended when you pack. No loose items.
  • Take spare container/bags for your rubbish.

A DOC representative will be on the beach while you are packing your kayaks.

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Back to Basics Camping

I know I am camping in a back-to-basics environment. What else do I need to know?

Camping Gear: Bring your normal camping equipment. Refer to suggested gear list later in this document.

Drinking Water: Drinking water is available.  At Otehei Bay, the only water taps are in the ‘camp kitchen’.

Alcohol: BYO is not permitted at Otehei Bay. This will be strictly enforced. Anyone who does not comply will have to leave the island. A well stocked bar is available with a limited range of alcohol at reduced prices for Kayak Fest.

Smoking: Is not encouraged, if you must, then we urge that you take care due to extreme fire risk in February. If you must smoke – please take your cigarette butts home with you.

Electrical Appliances and Chargers:  Bring your own ‘power pack recharging units’.  There will be a limited number of power boards available recharging of cell phones, etc.

Toilets and Showers: There are 3 ‘flush’ toilets for men and 3 for women. Toilet paper is provided. It is recommended that you bring your own soap or hand sanitiser.  There are 3 mens and 3 womens indoor, cold water showers. There are ample spots for your ‘personal’ solar showers.

Rubbish: What we take onto the island, we must take off. Attendees are responsible for any other waste they generate – that includes snack wrappers and cigarette butts. Communal waste is to be kept to a minimum and arrangements for its removal off the island will made by the event organisers.

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What catering is included? What food or drink do I need to bring?

  • Meals will be served in Otehei Bay by the resident Explore Group professional caterers.
  • Special dietary requirements such as gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free etc. must be ordered at the time of registration, so they can be catered for on the island.
  • Meals will be buffet style with a delicious menu designed to suit most tastes.
  • All plates, cups and cutlery will be are supplied at the restaurant, so you do NOT need to bring your own.
  • The following meals are provided and included in the registration fee depending on your selection.

THURSDAY – Pre-dinner snacks, dinner, dessert.

FRIDAY – Breakfast, packed lunch, pre-dinner snacks, dinner, dessert.

SATURDAY – Breakfast, packed lunch, pre-dinner snacks, dinner, dessert.

SUNDAY – Breakfast, packed lunch.

Meals will be served with tea, coffee and water.

Lunches will NOT be provided if you have not paid for them at registration and you have chosen to self–cater for lunch.

There are no shops on the island, or at Rawhiti, so bring any extra items e.g. snacks etc, with you. There is a bar on the island.

BYO alcohol is not permitted (see above) with meals at the restaurant at Otehei Bay. You will need to pay if you wish to purchase drinks at the bar.

Bring on-water snacks

Bring your own drink bottle and thermos for filling and taking with you on the paddling sessions.

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Suggested gear list

Your gear list should include (but not be limited to):

  1. Tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag etc
  2. Torch/ head torch
  3. You MUST bring a helmet.
  4. Sunblock and bug spray
  5. Hand sanitizer/ soap
  6. Water bottle
  7. Thermos – if you wish to have a hot drink during the day sessions (as lunch will generally be held away from the camp buildings)
  8. Paddling snacks, any other snacks or special food items you wish to bring
  9. Emergency rations sufficient for 24 hours and relevant utensils/cooking equipment should the need arise
  10. Something to take away any personal rubbish, including cigarette butts if relevant
  11. Solar shower, if you don’t wish to wait to use the cold showers provided (optional)
  12. Personal first aid kit
  13. Usual emergency equipment
  14. Money for drinks at the bar

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I am travelling from overseas, is it possible to hire a kayak and equipment and be able to pick it up at the launch site at Kaingahoa Bay, Rawhiti?

Yes, if you contact the event organisers at [email protected] , they will coordinate and make every attempt to provide what you require. If demand is high, a kayak retailer will arrange hire at a discounted rate.

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Photo and Video Competition

Enter your best photographs in this prestigious photo competition. Entries must have a sea kayaking or coastal connection. Sorry but no digital files or slides. All entries must be hardcopy paper prints. The competition is only for paddlers attending the forum, except for videos, (see below). Please ensure your photo is submitted to the appropriate category:

  • Action shots, bugger moments or salty humour
  • Sea Kayaking – kayaks or people dominate the shot
  • Seascape (kayaks or people do not dominate the picture)
  • Coastal / marine flora or fauna

Winners of each category will be awarded prizes. There is also a prize awarded for the Kayak Fest paddlers choice award for best overall photo.

Limit: Four photos per photographer, per category

  • colour or black and white prints to a maximum size of A3; – note on each photo’s rear: category, caption or locale, name, mail address, email address and phone number – no slides please; only prints will be accepted. 
  • images can only be edited with: cropping and resizing, lightening and darkening, dodging and burning, sharpening, and colour correction. In other words, images may be ‘tweaked’ to improve impact, but no manipulation such as cloning is acceptable.

Entries can only be submitted on arrival at the Kayak Fest, up to 8 am Saturday 8th February 2020. The photos will be displayed throughout the weekend and the winners announced before dinner on Saturday night.  While every care is taken, KASK will not accept liability for damage to entries.

Winning photos may be published in the KASK Newsletter. Photo competition entrants agree to allow their entries to appear in the KASK newsletter, and agree to enter in discussion with KASK re their use in either KASK safety promotional material or the handbook.

For Kayak Fest 2020 the organisers are pleased to boldly embrace the digital future and announce the first annual video competition. Given the proliferation of affordable action cameras and editing software we hope that paddlers will be keen to share their adventures and experiences using this new and dramatic format. Given that this is the first iteration, feel free to contact the committee about what might/might not be suitable for entry, or to discuss the format and guidelines. Any changes necessary will be posted to these FAQs. Please take careful note of the running times!

Video clips may be entered for the following categories:

Adventure & exploration (max running time 1:30 min): expeditions, landscapes, narratives, nature, flora & fauna, people.

Skills & adrenaline (max running time 1:30 min): dramatic in setting or action; surf, rocks, Greenland skills, rolling, rescues.

For the categories above, entries should be carefully crafted by editing, with the original or added soundtrack or both, to produce a high quality cohesive piece that draws the audience into the film and story. Feel free to use subtitles, voice-overs, animations and pictures to enhance your story.

Thrills and spills (max running time 20 sec!) This category is a chance to show off your most dramatic raw footage of carnage, drama & wonder across all types of paddling and paddling-relevant landscapes. Edited or raw footage are both fine. Knock our socks off!


– colour, black and white (or sepia, negative, night-vision or anything, really)

– resolution of 720p or higher, preferably at least 1080p. for ‘Thrills and spills’ lower quality could be entered, if the content is compelling.

Submission: Entries must be published on either YouTube or Vimeo and accessible online to the committee, by 8 am Saturday 8th February 2020

  • non participants at Kayak Fest may enter videos but they MUST be a KASK member.

Display of video clips: The video clips will be displayed on a revolving playlist at Kayak Fest, and at a dedicated screening time.  A selection of non-eligible clips from the committee or guest coaches may be included in the session.

Usage of video clips: Links to winning or other entries may be published on the KASK website or in the newsletter, with the permission of the creator to be obtained beforehand.

Prizes: The judges will award prizes for each main category.

Can I come early to explore the area?

Yes, there is lots to see and do. If you want to, you can make your own arrangements to book a campsite in Cable Bay, which is the next bay around. There are walking tracks all over Urupukapuka Island.

Walk Cape Brett to Rawhiti (16.5kms approx. 8 hours) – the Cape Brett water taxi service can drop you off on the landing platform on the Cape Brett peninsular. From there you can begin the popular trek along amazing coastal cliff edges, through beautiful native bush and taking in the incredible views of the Bay of Islands and Whangamumu headlands. (Walk both ways depending on the time available).

Visit the Waitangi treaty grounds and museum, the nearby Haruru Falls, take a cruise boat to the Hole in the Rock.  So let your Google fingers do the walking to check out more options.
Look up www.northlandnz.com tours and download their free maps to take your own tours of the area.

Risk Management – Bad weather / Plan B

What if the weather is too rough to paddle across to Urupukapuka Island on the first day – Thu 6th February?

If sea conditions are too rough to paddle across on the first day, arrangements are in place for everyone to tent and self-cater overnight at the Kaingarao Marae and paddle over to the island early on the Friday morning. Bring emergency food for one day just in case.

What if the weather turns rough, and I am not comfortable paddling back to Kaingahoa Bay at the end of the event?

In the event of extreme weather developing while on the island, and an attendee not being comfortable to paddle back to Kaingahoa Bay in a supportive group, there is a ferry to Russell/Paihia or water taxi to Kaiangahoa Bay for those who must evacuate. Some of us will be able to stay, and wait out the weather, and could tow kayaks back to Kaiangahoa Bay for subsequent pick up.

Is there a Plan B if the weather is too extreme for Urupukapuka Island?

No, there is not a Plan B in the event of extreme weather being forecast, because all other coastal areas within the BOI would also be affected. The event will be cancelled in reasonable time if required.

Can I cancel my registration

If you need to cancel your registration, you must let the event organisers know in writing. Please email us at [email protected]

Refunds will be paid as follows depending on when the cancellation email is received:

  • Cancellation up to 31 May 2019:
    Full refund.
  • Cancellation between 1 June 2019 – 31 December 2019
    50% refund
  • Cancellation from 1 January 2020        
    No refund

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Official cancellation of the event

 In the event that the Kayak Fest has to be cancelled by the organiser, for any reason, all participants will be reimbursed 100% of their registration costs.

Participants will be informed no later than five days prior to the event via email, text and on the KASK website and Facebook page

International Kayak Week (IKW)

International Kayak Week (IKW) is an informal week/period of paddling that follows the KASK Kayak Fest. Last year it was held in the Marlborough Sound and around D’Urville Island. This year it will be on Urupukapuka Island from Sunday 9th to Friday 14th February 2020. If you are an experienced paddler, want to enhance your paddling skills by paddling with some local and international legends – then this is for you. Further details will be announced shortly.

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To print: Download the PDF version here:

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