Dragon Boat Racing at TsaiChuan.com

Dragon Boat Racing in New Zealand

Alan Smythe brought dragon boat racing to New Zealand after he visited Hong Kong several times. He saw the excitement of dragon boat racing on the Fragrant Harbor.

The first boats in New Zealand were built by Tony Free in Napier and the first Dragon Boat Festival was held alongside the Western Viaduct.

Today, the sport is governed by the New Zealand Dragon Boat Association (NZDBA). The NZDBA aims to represent the interests of all dragon boat paddlers in New Zealand.

The popularity of Dragon Boat racing in New Zealand continues to increase with events like the NZ Regatta and the National Dragon Boat Championships.

But dragon boat racing in New Zealand started at the wtong foot, or paddle. As Smythe described it, it was "chaos. Huge macho men's crews from companies like Fisher and Paykel, Pacific Steel, Fletcher Contstruction had been going to the gym, training for weeks to have a shot at the Open Championships main prize, a trip to represent New Zealand at the World Dragon Boat Championships in Hong Kong."

The trip to Hong Kong was eventually won by Lawton Construction. However, the NZ crew, with all these inexperienced paddlers sank in the first race.

Today, dragon boat racing continues to be a fast growing sport in New Zealand. Racing events are usually coupled with street parades and are watched by thousands drawing over 100 crews from all over the North Island.