Investing in sustainability

Rafting New Zealand has entered into a joint venture with Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust of Ngāti Tūwharetoa which it says will allow it to more than double in size, give visitors the best and most authentic experience possible, and make a positive difference to the local environment and community.

About the business

Operating across the southern end of Lake Taupō in the alpine village of Tūrangi  (Tongariro River) and Taupō Township (Tongariro and Waikato Rivers), Rafting NZ was founded almost 30 years ago to provide visitors with a fun, safe white water rafting adventure with experienced New Zealand guides. 

The award-winning business 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 Māori heritage and culture.

Benefitting the community

Managing Director and co-founder Luke Boddington says LRFT’s involvement will provide a multitude of benefits for customers, Tūrangi and the Tūwharetoa people.

“It aligns with both Rafting New Zealand and LRFT’s commitment to investing in the local Tūrangi 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 Tūrangi and Taupō. It will also improve employment and training opportunities for locals. We’re looking to bring on at least 40 additional people by 2022.”

Investing in the environment

The Awa Toa Fund, which was set up by Rafting New Zealand to preserve lakes, rivers and streams for future generations, will be well funded by the boost in sales, enabling it to make a positive difference both socially and environmentally.

One percent of its 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.

The partnership also aligns with the hapū’s goal of having a Māori owned enterprise operating on their river – the Tongariro River, which is located at the southern end of Lake Taupō in Tūrangi. 

Key takeouts

  • This new partnership will support all aspects of Rafting New Zealand’s sustainability efforts - economic, environmental, visitor and host community.

  • The increased revenue generated by the partnership will enable Rafting New Zealand to invest more into preserving lakes, rivers and streams and provide training, qualification and employment for local Tūwharetoa.

  •  The hapū saw an opportunity in Rafting New Zealand to work with a tourism business that is passionate, highly experienced and invested in the good of the New Zealand environment and local communities.


This new joint venture will help Rafting New Zealand achieve numerous business commitments, including:

1 - Businesses focused on long term financial performance
5 - Businesses innovate to improve or upgrade their offering to enhance the visitor experience
9 - Businesses actively engage with the communities in which they operate; and
11 - Businesses contribute to ecological restoration initiatives.