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Rowing is a great sport for getting fit, getting outdoors, and meeting new people. People usually start rowing to give something new a try. And then get the bug!

New Zealand is one of the best rowing nations in the world. At the 2021 Olympics, NZ cleaned-up against the powerhouse nations, including USA, China, and Great Britain. There are great development programs in place to support new rowers in NZ, all the way to competing on the world stage.

In New Zealand there are 65 active rowing clubs. We have 3 clubs on the Wellington Harbour and our club, the Porirua Rowing Club(PRC), is located by the boatsheds in the suburb of Titahi Bay.

The PRC is a small club but can take you as far as you want to go. You can read about our our success stories here. Our club has the water, facilities and coaching to help you reach the highest levels.

For those wanting to learn, we run learn to row programs. You will be taught the basics from how to row a rowing machine (‘erg’) and getting out on the water in a boat. People tend to stay with rowing because they get fit and healthy, and because of the friends they make. We will be running rowing courses for students in August 2023, and then will look at adult programs after that. Please sign up to the newsletter to be keep up to date.

If you have rowed before, just get in contact as we need to assess your rowing skills. For your safety, you may also be asked to complete the learn to row program as well.

Club Rowing

The normal Club rowing season runs from Oct-Feb. First time rowers are called a ‘Novice’ and race against other Novice rowers from around the county. Depending upon what you and your crew wants to do and how competitive you are, you may go to the National Rowing Championships (Nats) in February.

There are strict rules around what category you can row in to make racing fair. As rowers perform at the larger qualification regattas (like National Champs or ‘Nats’), you will move up the ranks the following season into the relevant grades of Intermediate, Club, Senior and then Premier (for both women and men). Senior and Premier rowers are where the age group and elite NZ representative crews generally come from.

School Rowing

School rowing is very popular and culminates in a championship school regatta in March called the Maadi Cup. The regatta is the largest school sports event in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 2450 rowers from 123 secondary schools participating in 2021. With spectators, there are up to 6000 people watching the finals.

School rowers initially row under their Club colours until Nats (February). Then the Club season finishes and school rowers then row for their schools. However, there are some big School teams around the country so there is an overlap in Jan-Feb with regattas. Some school kids row in the age group school regattas; some row in the Club regattas or both. Regardless, crews are aiming to excel at the National Champs in February and the Maadi Cup in March.

Some Clubs in Wellington only allow specific schools to row at their club. They don’t have the room to support other schools and even have to limit rowers from those schools.

At Porirua, we are fortunate to have a large Club with lots of room, gym equipment and rowing skiffs (see how this was done in history).

What that means is that all school rowers at our Club are rowing for the Club from Oct-Feb. They fall under the Club policies and get to meet, train and become friends with school kids from central Wellington to as far north as Kapiti College. Then in February when club racing finishes, students will row at school regattas and if they are fast enough, taking on the Maadi Cup regatta in March. The best thing about rowing it is a sport you don’t start before 13. Everyone starts at the same level and learns how to row together. So its great if you are a student and want to keep busy over the summer holidays, meet new people or supplement your winter sport.

Masters Rowing

There are no age limits in the Club grades. Many older athletes are competing in the various Club grades.

However, in addition to the Club regattas, a Masters rower (starting at age 27) can compete in age group races over the summer and then Masters season extends into the Winter, culminating in the NZ Masters Rowing Championships in September.

The main difference with a Masters regatta is that races are 1km (as opposed to 2km). And the training can be a little more relaxed or as hard as you want.


Options to Join

We run learn to row course for students and adults. These courses are very popular. We also now have coastal rowing boats, which allows rowers to quickly learn and get comfortable on the water, even on days that are too rough for normal rowing boats. https://poriruarowing.co.nz/coastal-rowing-boats-coming-to-porirua/

So please get in contact with us here contact page. We will show you around the club and show you the gym complex, the boats and just give you a tour. We might even see if you want to go out in a boat! But we can also talk through all the options about joining.

Otherwise, register your interest here.

We will put you in the mailing list and let you know when we are starting the new learn to row programs, and send updates on what is happening at the club.


Subscriptions for the 2023-24 Season covers the period 1st Oct 2023 – 30th Sep 2024.

The 2023/24 fees are:

Competitive – intend on racing at regattas. Priority use of club equipment. $650
Casual – Intend on training a max 3/week during peak times. Usually no limits however, you will not have a racing license to compete in official regattas. $400
Coxswain – Non-rowing member who steers the boat $150
Supporter – Non-use of equipment $100

For $6/week, you get access to the rowing boats and coaching, and also access to the new gym, showers etc. If you want to race, the step up in price covers racing license fees ($46 to WRA and $103.5 to Rowing NZ) and the extra costs for more time on the water to cover wear on plant and costs to run the coaching boats.

Membership Application Form LINK HERE

Guide to Other Costs

Regattas and training camps carry additional costs to pay for accommodation, food and transport of boats and rowers. Regattas also have entries fees and the costs depend upon the number of races a rower has entered.

The club relies on volunteers (parents!) to help manage those under 18. We roster duties so rowers help with food preparation, cooking and dishes and cleaning of the accommodation while away. Rowers learn a lot about team work both on and off the water.

These costs are only indicative and based upon the 2022/23 season.

Training Camp Costs

These are generally held at Whanganui, where the crews are likely to get good training water. We make use of Rowing Club rooms to sleep on the floor and use their kitchen facilities. As a guideline, accommodation at training camps is about $20/night.

The rowers need a lot of high quality food at a training camp. They are burning a lot of energy and we budget $15 per day per rower for food. Vegetarians can be catered for but those with other food requirements generally need to sort their own food out.

Fuel costs for transporting boats to Whanganui and coaching boat petrol money would cost about $30 per rower. If rowers are catching a ride with someone, they are also asked to contribute to petrol money. A 5-night training camp in Whanganui, with all food, accommodation etc paid for costs about $230 per rower.

First year beginners (Novices) should expect to attend 1 training camp. More experienced rowers will want to attend more.

Regattas Costs

Wellington regatta costs are billed according to the races you enter. You could expect being charged $50 for small regattas, and about $100 for the big regattas like National Rowing Championships. These costs are set by the association running the event, to cover expenses for running the regatta.

In addition, the biggest costs come from transport, accommodation and food. Food was always a cost that you would have at home, so is not really an additional cost. Again, for most regattas at Whanganui or at Lake Karapiro, Cambridge, we use the cheaper $20 night option at Scout Halls etc. You would be looking at $110 for Whanganui and $200 to attend a Lake Karapiro regatta (there are 2 of these at Lake Karapiro over the season).

If you elect to go to the National Rowing Champs, crews generally pay for a house, so they get better rest. For the 2022 champs that were moved to Twizel, accommodation for 7 nights was going to cost about $330 person – but we found sponsorship to cover this cost for all rowers.

The Secondary School Maadi Cup regatta alternates locations every year, so that the year Nationals Champs are in Lake Karapiro, Cambridge, the Maadi is down in the South Island at Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel. And this swaps every year.

There are additional costs travelling to Twizel and for this reason, the parents (if at school), adult rowers and coaches carefully consider the benefit vs the cost of attending. Most competitive rowers do everything they can to attend these big regattas.

National Champs will be held at Lake Karapiro, Cambridge in February 2024 and Maadi in March 2024 at Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel.

Summary of Extra Costs (guideline only)


1x Whanganui Training Camps (5 nights) – $230

Multiple local regatta fees (Wellington and Whanganui) – $150 for all of these regattas

Cambridge, Hamilton 

Lake Karapiro Christmas regatta (15-17 Dec 2023) ~$100 regatta and $200 accommodation, food and transport

North Island Champs regatta (27-29 Jan 2024) ~$100 regatta and $200 accommodation, food and transport

These 2 regattas are the full experience and include lanes on the course, starting blocks and everything you’d see at a International regatta. In 2023, 2062 competitors raced at the North Island Champs, mostly made up of school-aged crews.

North Island Secondary School Regatta (1-3 march 2024) ~$100 regatta and $200 accommodation, food and transport.

National Championships and Maadi Cup (each a week long)

Attendance assessed on crews competitiveness Vs cost.

National Rowing Champs and Maadi ($700 – $1000 each, the more expensive being the regatta in Twizel).