Celebrating 10 Years of Rotorua Rafting

This November, Rotorua Rafting celebrates 10 epic years of rafting on the Kaituna River!

We want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, we can't do it without you.

Founded by 4x Extreme Kayak World Champion, Sam Sutton, Rotorua Rafting has grown from humble beginnings to one of NZ's most must do activities. Okere born & bread, Sam spent his summers paddling off his door step, exploring what the Kaituna had to offer. Kayaking has lead Sam all over the world, to some of the most remote places on earth, but his love for the Kaituna always brought him home.

Sam (14) on the Kaituna River, Okere Awa

In Sam's eyes, there's no place like the Kaituna River & Okere Falls. And so sparked the dream to create the best rafting trip in the world.

In 2011, after a couple of beers, Sam bought a 2nd hand raft from TradeMe, and operated out of the Okere Campground. Towards the end of our time there we were doing 150 people some days out of such a small operating space, safe to say an upgrade was well needed!

With leased land from the Kingi whanau, we purpose built the current base in just 6 weeks, rafting through the day and building off the river (some days until 2am!). The new base has allowed us to grow Rotorua Rafting into the empire it is today, taking our record number of people to 304 in a day.

Late Night Base Building!

A massive part of Rotorua Rafting's success goes to our staff. From booking to check out, our guides, safety kayakers, photographers and behind the scenes heroes, the team at Rotorua Rafting work so hard to bring the best experience every time. This has shown in so many reviews, feedback & happy faces over the years.

Rotorua Rafting Team Day Out

One of our greatest achievements and testaments to our mahi has been our recognition in Trip Advisors Best of the Best & Travellers Choice Awards, taking out 2020 with #1 Experience in New Zealand & the South Pacific and #2 Experience Worldwide. We love what we do, and these achievements would not be possible without you, our friends, whanau, guests & agents. Rotorua Rafting's mission has always been providing the best experiences while also giving back to the land & community.

Beautiful Tutea Falls on the Kaitiuna River, Okere Falls.

Our sustainability efforts in Okere & the wider Rotorua area has rapidly gained traction and set benchmarks for sustainable tourism.

Some of these sustainable practises look like;

- Proudly supporting Predator Free Ōkere Falls in trapping rats, mice, and possums. We currently look after two trap lines in the Ōkere Falls reserve.

- 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 pests out of our waterways.

- Creating the "Monday Clean Up" initiative. Where staff & community donate an hour every Monday to pick up rubbish around the Kaituna River & Ōkere Falls area. At the Rotorua Rafting base, we have taken this one step further, minimising our waste by recycling, composting and have reduced our waste to landfill from three bins per week to just one.

- Educating our tamariki 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. Together, with our school rafting trips, we plant native tree seedlings that will be replanted into the reserve.

Here's to another 10 epic years of laughs, carnage, and good times on the Kaituna.

Love the Rotorua Rafting Crew