about us

Rotorua Rafting was established on the Kaituna River in 2011 with the goal to provide the best white water rafting in New Zealand and the world. Not only have we set out to be the best rafting in NZ but also to bring the best value for money rafting on the market. To date, we are stoked with how we have been doing with so many people saying their Kaituna River rafting adventure has been the highlight of their holiday.

Alongside the best kiwi senior guides, Rotorua Rafting has fast become the best white water rafting company in the region, this may not be measured in numbers but in the stoke that customers receive from coming down Kaituna River with us.

We are bringing the fun back to white water rafting, and with the Kaituna River located in our backyard, we are here to share our dream with you.

“Our goal is not to be the biggest raft company nor is it to make the most money, our goal is to love life, live life and have the best damn time doing it.”

Sam Sutton


Rotorua Rafting has proudly been created and operated by Kaituna River born and bred, four-time Extreme Kayaking World Champion Sam Sutton. As we say in NZ, he’s a GC (Good “Character”).


Our commitment is simple.  We want to set a benchmark for sustainable tourism and are one of the few carbon-positive companies in Rotorua and one of the first Tourism operators in NZ.

On the Kaituna River (Ōkere awa), we are proud to be actively showing manaaki (to support) Predator Free Ōkere Falls in trapping rats, mice, and possums looking after two trap lines in the Ōkere Falls reserve.

We have also cleared 12’000 square metres of surrounding farmland of blackberry and gorse and have replanted over 5000 native trees. Our goal is to plant 10’000 native manuka trees on the river edge, which will also enable us to rid a bit of gorse from the area too.

On our roto (lake), we are working with the Te Arawa Lakes Trust and the ‘Catfish Killas’ in the eradication of catfish in Lake Rotoiti, by checking, clearing and monitoring the nets, to keep these pesky fish out of our waterways.

Our staff initiative is our Monday ‘clean up Ōkere Falls mornings’, where our staff donate an hour every Monday to pick up rubbish around the Kaituna River area.  At the base, we have taken this one step further, minimising our waste by recycling, composting and have reduced our waste to landfill from three bins a week to one.  We use environmentally friendly cleaning products, keeping our waterways clean.

Educating our tamariki (children) about the importance of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection of the environment) and the work we do as a community to conserve & care for our surroundings is hugely important. Together, with our school rafting trips post-trip, we plant native tree seedlings that will be nurtured in our Rotorua Rafting nursery to be replanted into the reserve. That learning and engagement have been so overwhelmingly popular that we have now extended this out to all of our rafters, to take a moment post-trip to share our manaakitanga and plant a native tree seed/s to give back to the awa (river) that we have just rafted.

This investment into sustaining our backyard will later bring restoration to our surrounding native forest and in time we hope that we can create a bird sanctuary to bring the native kiwi back up to Ōkere Falls.

We are stoked to have this opportunity to invest and involve as many people in our vision of enhancing our backyard of Ōkere Falls and protecting our Papatūānuku (Mother Earth).

What can you do?  Easy! When you book from our website, you can donate $2.50 which goes straight into our Ōkere Falls and Rotorua Rafting project.

supporting local

We are all about supporting our hapori whānui (community) and helping those achieve that step up in all their kōrā (goals) as well as the fact we just love sharing our crazy fun with you all!

Every year we donate around $18,000 of sponsorship to local sports teams, school galas and many other fundraisers whenever we can.

A big thank you for supporting us and we want you to know we will continue to support Rotorua as much as we can!

Our crew

All of our Rotorua Rafting guides/staff are handpicked making sure that they deliver you the best trip ever!!

They are all NZ Grade 4/5 certified river instructors, which is the most recognised and highly regarded qualification in the world.  

All Rotorua Rafting guides are certified in backcountry rescue and first aid and they are all chosen primarily for their GC rating which needs to be a minimum of 5 stars.