Tahunanui Kayak Fest 2025

February 13th to 16th
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This document has important information and frequently asked questions (FAQ) you need to know about the event activities, venue and how to get to KASK Kayak Fest 2025 – Tahunanui, Nelson.

·       Please ensure you read this information carefully, to get maximum enjoyment from the event.


KASK Kayak Fest 2025 (the 32nd biennial KASK New Zealand Sea Kayaking Forum) will be held at Tahunanui, Nelson, a ‘tidal’ estuary and beach that sits pride of place in Tasman Bay over the weekend of 13 – 16 February 2025.  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 2025 – will be an event with an emphasis on paddling skill development This is an opportunity for paddlers of differing skill levels to paddle, share ideas, and learn on and off the water. It is a chance for you to take your paddling to another level, learn from local and international instructors, be challenged, and inspired in your kayaking.

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Event registration

The event registration is done here. You can pay for the event by direct credit or by credit card.

There are two options for registration with ‘early bird discounts being available for the first thirty-five registrations only:

  • Option A – $320 (unpowered tent site and dinner on Fri and Sat evenings). The first thirty-five paid registrations between Options A and B, will be eligible for the early bird fee of $295
  • Option B – $340 (a powered campervan/caravan site and dinner on Fri and Sat evenings). The first thirty-five paid registrations between Options A and B, will be eligible for the early bird fee of $315.

You don’t have to be a KASK member to attend the event.

We will keep you informed of changes or additions to the progamme.

What is included in the registration fee:

  • Camping fees.
  • Dinner meals ONLY on the Friday and Saturday evenings.
  • Training sessions on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Participation in the ‘Buy Swap or Sell’ – Kayaks and Equipment
  • Participation in the Photographic Competition
  • Participation in the Silent Auction
  • Guest speakers on the Thursday Friday and Saturday nights.

What is NOT included in the registration fee:

  • Tent and camping equipment.
  • Breakfast and lunch meals and Thursday dinner.
  • Paddling snacks and drinks.
  • Student Sponsorship

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Registration Now Open

The Venue: Tahunanui Holiday Park

We are extremely fortunate to be able to use the facilities of Tahunanui Holiday Park owned and managed by the Tahuna Camp Inc Society –  (Check out this video about the park)

Getting to Tahunanui Holiday Park

Using State Highway 1 from either Christchurch or Picton.

The precise location of the Holiday Park can be found on Google Earth at latitude and longitude coords (41o 17.04.06 S and 173 o 14.22.51 E). Guides will direct you from the Park Entrance to Registration and allocated site.

On arrival at Tahunanui Holiday Park, from mid-morning on Thu 13th you will be met by guides who will direct you to Fest Registration and from there to your allocated site.

Allocation of Campsites at Tahunanui Holiday Park

You will be informed, upon arrival at Registration, of the location of your camp site.

Parking at Tahunanui Holiday Park

Guides will meet you at Fest Registration and show you your site and where to park.

Sites are large enough for tent/kayak/car and or campervan/caravan/kayak.

Getting from the Holiday Park to Tahunanui Beach

By foot with trolley:

Going to the beach with a trolley takes approximately 15 minutes when leaving from the main entrance/ reception area of the camp. The route takes you east and north through the wetland area of the Tahunanui Beach complex, mostly avoiding busy roadways and by using wide paved cycle/ pedestrian paths.  View map and follow the route outlined in blue.

 By vehicle:

Going to the beach with a vehicle takes approximately 3 minutes when leaving from the main entrance/ reception area of the camp. Leaving the park, turn left onto Beach Road and at the end of Beach Road turn left onto Bisley Avenue (that then turns into Bisley Walk). Continue left on Bisley Walk to the carpark area. View map and follow the route outlined in red.

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Camping at Tahunanui Holiday Park

I know I am camping in a Holiday Park. What should I bring?

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

Drinking Water: There is a plentiful supply of drinking water.

Alcohol: Moderate use of alcohol is permitted on your site within the Holiday Park.

BYO is not permitted within the Function Centre facilities; however, a bar will be available and will be operating on the Friday and Sat evenings to quench your needs.


Smokers please be aware that there is an extreme Fire Risk.

Toilets and Showers: There are unisex toilets and showers within the allocated camping areas. It is recommended that you bring your own soap or hand sanitizer. 

Electrical Appliances and Chargers:  For non-powered sites, there will be a limited number of power boards available in the Marquee for the charging of cell phones, cameras, laptops etc. It is recommended that you bring your own ‘power pack recharging units’. 

Rubbish: Attendees are responsible for all waste they generate – pack in pack out.

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

With the exception of Friday and Saturday evening dinners, all other meals are ‘self-catering’.

Special dietary requirements such as gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free etc for Friday and Saturday dinners must be noted at the time of registration.

Evening meals on the Friday and Saturday will be buffet style with a delicious menu designed to suit most tastes.

The following meals are provided and included in the registration fee.

FRIDAY – Pre-dinner snacks, dinner, dessert.

SATURDAY – Pre-dinner snacks, dinner, dessert.

Tea, coffee and soft drinks can be purchased from the Holiday Park Café – The Deck’ – open from 7am till 8pm. The Deck Tahuna has an extensive menu .  Their coffee is especially popular and goes perfectly with their delectable, sweet treats. The cafe also caters to everyone’s tastes, whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.

In addition to the Deck Café, nearby there is Catch 22 Café & Bar at 31 Beach Rd, and the Sands Brewery Bar and Kitchen at 643 Rooks Road.

All Breakfasts, Lunches and Thursday dinner are self catered.


If you require any food or drink other than what is provided, then it is recommended that you will need to bring it – there is a café, the Deck, within the holiday park that will be open 7am -8pm on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are Supermarkets in downtown Nelson.

(BYO alcohol is not permitted with Friday and Saturday meals in the Function Centre.  You will need to bring eftpos/credit cards and or cash if you wish to purchase drinks at the bar.)

Bring on-water snacks, alcoholic drinks or other drinks of your choice.

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

Refer to suggested gear lists later in this document for other food / drink you may wish to bring.

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Suggested gear list

Although this is a summer event, you will need to be prepared for all weather. Bring suitable paddling clothes along with off-water wear. Your gear list should include (but not be limited to):

Camping gear – tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag etc

  1. Torch/ head torch
  2. Sunblock and bug spray
  3. Hand sanitizer/ soap
  4. Water bottle
  5. Thermos – if you wish to have a hot drink during the day sessions (as lunch will generally be held away from the camp buildings)
  6. Paddling snacks, any other snacks or special food items you wish to bring.
  7. Cooking equipment/utensils for Thursday dinner and with sufficient breakfasts and lunches for three days.
  8. Alcoholic/ non-alcoholic drinks – drinking water is plentiful.
  9. Emergency rations sufficient for 24 hours should the need arise.
  10. Bring your own rubbish bags. Pack it In/Pack it Out.
  11. Personal first aid kit

Kayak gear – kayak, spray deck, tent, buoyancy vest/PFD and paddle

  1. Spray jacket or some kind of waterproof jacket
  2. Whistle
  3. Pump or bailer
  4. Helmet is a MUST
  5. Paddle Float
  6. Tow rope
  7. Sunblock
  8. Sunglasses
  9. Sun Hat
  10. Appropriate paddling footwear
  11. Trolley (if you have one)
  12. Personal first aid kit
  13. OPTIONAL: Emergency Kit incl kayak repair kit, VHF Radio, PLB and gloves

I am travelling from overseas, is it possible to hire a kayak and equipment and be able to pick it up at the Holiday Park?

Yes, if you contact the event organisers at [email protected], they will coordinate and make every attempt to provide what you require.

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Is there any discount available on the Cook Strait Ferries for participants travelling to and from the event?

Yes, a 10% discount has been arranged with Bluebridge Ferry and can be claimed as follows:

  • The discount applies to bookings made directly with Bluebridge, through the passenger website bluebridge.co.nz, via the Bluebridge Passenger Contact Centre, or at the Bluebridge Passenger Terminals.It is not applicable to STRAITNZ Bluebridge freight bookings or bookings made by third parties.
  • This discount is valid for travel between 6 February and 26 February 2025.
  • To get the discount the promo code KAYAK must be used at the time of booking and cannot be retrospectively added to an existing booking.
  • Applies to fares only. Optional extras, such as cabins, excess baggage and food, are charged at standard retail prices.
  • The discount is not available in conjunction with any other offer.
  • Fares are always subject to availability at the time of booking.
  • Public fares are dynamic and subject to daily changes.
  • All passengers travelling on the booking must be attendees of KASK Kayak Fest 2025, and must present proof of registration at check-in. If not presented, the standard retail fares will be charged.
  • Payment must be made when booking via the following payment methods; Poli (bank transfer), debit/credit card and/or Afterpay.
  • All other standard Bluebridge Terms and Conditions (including fare conditions) apply.

I live in NZ, am travelling from afar and wish to carpool, is there a facility for this?

Yes, there is a KASK Kayak Fest 25 – Travel Hub (Link)to enable paddlers to connect and combine travel arrangements.

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Where are the Outdoor Recreational Students from, how are they selected and how can we support them?

The students are studying at the local Polytechnic Nelson/Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).

They have completed their Advanced Sea Kayaking level 5 experience and will be participating and helping out at the Fest.

Sam Russek, their tutor at NMIT, will pick up to four of his top students to be sponsored. The chosen students are looking at sea kayaking as part of their career path.

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If you’d like to contribute and support these students:-

Then at the time of registration you can add on your donation to the registration amount by indicating an amount in the appropriate box on the registration form then adding that amount to the registration fee when you pay.

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Event activities

What’s in the program for me?

At this stage the program is still being formulated and finalised – it is a melting pot of ideas, with instructors, speakers, and demonstrators being chosen and contacted. 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 opportunity to learn or re-learn from the best, to fine-tune and hone your skills, and try things not just once.
  • 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 (Ireland, Vancouver or perhaps Stewart?), camped in bear territory (polar, black, brown), seal-launched with seals, sweated it out in California or Canada, 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 into the photographic competition.
  • You will have fun; come, make your boat dance and your heart sing.

KASK Photo Competition 2025

There will be six categories covering ‘action shots, bugger moments or salty humour, sea kayaking, seascapes, coastal marine and videos.

Photos will be on a rolling presentation for viewing while you are registering on Thursday 13th Feb

and throughout Friday and Saturday.  Winners of each category will be awarded prizes that will be

presented on the Saturday evening. There is also an award for the paddler’s choice as voted by the Fest attendees for best overall photo or video.

Details on entering the competition will be sent to Fest registrants on 1st November 2024.

Kayak Fest Buy, Sell or Swap

As most of us have surplus paddling equipment that we would like to find a new home for. Buy, Sell or Swap will be held on the Thursday evening.  The only rule that applies is that traders must own the item that is being traded.

Location of the event will be announced at the Official Welcome.

What is the Kayak Fest Silent Auction for?

The purpose of the Silent Auction, first run in 2020, is to primarily raise funds for Kayak Fest 2027 so as to assist international instructors with air travel costs whilst at the same time being able to reward successful bidders with top-quality paddling equipment from leading manufacturers and retailers.

Successful bidders, in possession of their prize (s) will receive an invoice with payment instructions.

Things to do if you get there early or wish to stay on

If keen on walking there are an abundance of beautiful and varied tramps, day walks and short walks.

Check out Mount Richmond Forest Park and the 3 closest National Parks: Abel Tasman, Kahurangi, and Nelson Lakes (Link https://nelsontrails.co.nz/).

If you are looking somewhere to paddle – day trips and more, then consider:

The Abel Tasman Coastline. (Kaiteriteri – Totaranui) There are numerous beach campsites along the way.

Pepin Island for some sea caves and rock gardening or a circumnavigation (at high tide only)

The Marlborough Sounds: Tennyson Inlet starting at Duncan Bay.  Queen Charlotte Sound starting at Anakiwa or Waikawa jetties. Both coastlines have DOC campsites dotted along them

The Nelson Lakes: Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa both provide bush clad mountain backdrops. Huts are placed at ends of both lakes.

For somewhere to surf around Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman/Golden Bay regions, then consider:

Wharariki Beach, Pillar Point, Anatori River, Ruby Bay, Schnappers Point, Karamea and Robin

Hood Bay.

So let your Google fingers do the walking to check out more options.

International Kayak Week – 2025

International Kayak Week (IKW) is an informal week/period of paddling that follows the KASK Kayak Fest. In 2025 D’Urville Island will be the destination attraction. It will be organised by David Welch of Nelson and based at Elmslie Bay/French Pass and other island locations. Dates are from Sun 16th to Fri 21st Feb 25.

If you are an experienced to advanced level paddler, want to have fun, enhance your paddling skills with some local and international legends – then this is for you. Further details will be announced in September 2024.

Kayak Week – 2025

Kayak Week will be an informal week of peer led fun and adventurous paddling that follows on from KASK Kayak Fest from Sun 16th to Fri 21st Feb 25.

It will be located at Maharau in the Abel Tasman, at the organised and well-run campground of Maharau Beach Camp (link) and will be organised by Shaun Maclaren and other experienced paddlers.

You will be able to enjoy and experience the white sandy beaches and experience the Abel Tasman and all that it offers with day or multi-day trips – camping at local beach sites.

If you would like to enhance your paddling skills, experience the Abel Tasman and have fun – then this is for you. Further details will be announced in October 2024.

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Risk Management – Bad weather / Plan B

Is there a Plan B if the weather is too extreme for Tahunanui, Nelson?

Yes, in the event of extreme weather being forecast for Nelson, Plan B will be at Bethany Park to the north of Nelson. If Bethany Park, 35 kms to the north was to be affected, then the event will be cancelled. Cancellation of the event if required, will be made in reasonable time.

Cancelling your 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 30 June 2024:
    Full refund.
  • Cancellation between 1 July 2024 – 31 December 2024
    50% refund
  • Cancellation from 1 January 2025
    No refund

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.

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