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Chapter 9 – Rotorua

Event Summary

This will be forever known as the Covid-19 Chapter...or in more positive terms, the first ever visit to the stunning North Island for an expedition adventure race. Teams started and finished their 2021 GODZONE in Rotorua. The course took on a stunning linear course, in a clockwise direction around the wider Bay of Plenty region. The route kicked off with a bike in the Redwoods and then packrafting through the northern lakes of Rotoiti, Rotoehu and Rotoma before heading through the forest towards Lakes Tarawera and Rotomahana.

A huge bike took teams along the classic Moerangi MTB track and then into the super tricky navigation of Whirinaki State Forest. Teams had mixed fortunes in the dense bush with the rogaine format providing a fresh challenge. From there, a short bike took teams to another packrafting section down the iconic Mohaka River. Followed by a remote transition and the start of a huge trek traversing the entire length of the Kaweka and Kaimanawa mountain ranges....around 100km in length and with over 6000m of ascent. Another short bike was followed by a kayak across Lake Taupo. The remaining stages seeming like a blur compared to the long stages of the middle. The final stage saw teams return to Whakarewarewa Forest and some neat single track into the finish line in Rotorua. Great race. Great venue. Epic challenge. The North Island has what it takes to deliver a fantastic expedition experience.


You can check out all the GODZONE photos and videos in our galleries.

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The Teams

You never know how things are going to shape up when you open up entries on a completely different island. An island where there had never been an expedition adventure race before. No problem, 100 teams entered within 24hrs and we were full full full! Then, along came Covid-19 which changed the world, as we know it, forever. The event date was postponed for 5 months; moving the event forward and back to its traditional March slot (having been earmarked for the previous November). Unfortunately, 35 overseas teams who had originally entered were unable to visit New Zealand due to border and travel restrictions. This meant team numbers were down but, it was still a sizeable and very strong field of Kiwi teams who took to the start line. The general consensus being one of enthusiasm to embrace the cultural and terrain differences offered up by the Rotorua Geothermal backdrop. Nearly all of the international teams unable to make it into New Zealand elected to roll their entries over to Chapter 10...meaning that will be a large field of racers, again.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. Adventures Powered By Mitoq Lachlan Boyle Rhys burns Tessa Aukje Dekker Brad Chandler Retired
2. Ataraxia - MACPAC Tom Reynolds Hannah Lowe Matt Jeans Shaun Palmer Full Course
3. Avaya Nathan Fa’avae Sophie Hart Chris Forne Stu Lynch Full Course
4. Beyond Fitness NZ Owen Keet Dan Major Edward Lawley LAUREN ASSINK Retired
5. Bulklines Melanie Hansen Tom downey kirk mcdonald Grant Hildred Short Course
6. Cannonballs tom horner harry ormiston Mike sherwin luke MATHIESON Short Course
7. Coromandel 4square Steve Borkin Kieran Langley Ben Meyer Rose cahnacan Short Course
8. Dodd Civil Jabberwock Jason Brown Jason Gradwell Liz McDougal Cobus van Zyl Unranked
9. Epic Ducks Lea Vellenoweth Emily Wilson Sarah Millar Steve Lock Short Course
10. eudaimonia Joseph Rea Abban quaYle Matthew morreau Selena methErell Full Course
11. Freedom Fitness & Coaching Richard Dove Karen Muller Tony Watson Simon Lewis Short Course
12. Further faster fledglings odie ruegg hayley richards Bradley Scott Will Jones Unranked
13. Go Fence Kieran Hickman Mandy Macfarlane Glenn Blackmore Jermery McKenzie Full Course
14. Harrisonbloy Plumbing & Bathroom Callum Harrison Emma mccosh Jeremy WebbeR Jerome Sheppard Unranked
15. Highland Events Brandon Purdue patrick Garceau ali wilson eryn Cutler Full Course
16. In Our Element Rob Griffiths Georgie Griffiths Neil Kerrison Andrew Hickson Full Course
17. Intruders SAm moore Kate moore Josh hedley Toby Barkla Full Course
18. isport Dougal Allan Theo wordsworth sIMONE maier Richie Mccaw Full Course
19. Kai Whakapai Wanaka Dave dixon Shonagh north Grant Cagney Pieter Brits Unranked
20. KRacey Roar Kristoffersen Caleb Hill Kieran hambrook Courtney Prestage Unranked
21. Mainline with Confidence Anna Gray Katy Plant Luke Parker Thomas Moser Unranked
22. Mitoq Hannah Norton Kelly Munro Byron Munro Owen Warburton Short Course
23. MURIHIKU MATES Chris Stewart dAVE cOWIE BrenT kingsland Michele Frey Full Course
24. Nga Rakau louise mark Tim CoChrane isak meyer Alan Kirkpatrick Full Course
25. Nutrient Rescue Dave QUESTED DAve KEEN CHERYL KEEN DARRON JONES Full Course
26. NZ Natural Formulas Paul Ayres Steve Mosley Nick Thompson Sarah Brunton Retired
27. OceanFlooring Adventure racing Rebecca gifford Sam Eames Harry Llewellyn Sam Durrant Unranked
28. Out for the View Rob Lei Paul Billing rACHEL sMITH Aaron Mallett Full Course
29. Pure Sport Nutrition Jeff Price Nic Cordner Kelly wood Rob MacCracken Unranked
30. Racers Edge - powered by Torpedo 7 Richard Anderson Tim Farrant Tim Sikma Sara Prince Full Course
31. RAD Ventures James Holth Joscelin Smith Finn Mahon Lachlan Macdonald Unranked
32. RADIX NUTRITION Rachel Lynskey Mike Dawson Patrick De Jong Tom Hambrook Full Course
33. Rat Pack Dean Velenski Jamie Russ Kristen Diederich Martin Peat Full Course
34. Tavendale & Partners Belinda McCone James MCCONE dUNCAN RUTHERFORD Ben dampier crossley Unranked
35. Team Macpac Nev Wells Matt Lash Paul Rust Leah Barnfield Full Course
36. Team Motueka Brent Steinmetz Greig Hamilton Scott Mcdaonald Fiona Dowling Retired
37. Team Silky Callum Irvine Stephen Busby Vics Shelling Andrew Riddell Short Course
38. Team Swazi Rachel cashin George christens Peter o’sullivan JASON DERECOURT Full Course
39. The Crafty Weka Bar Team Simon BloomBerg Simon Bloomberg jnr Jane Orbell Dene Gavin Retired
40. The Roving Tukes Mathew Haworth George Kool Michael Mitchell Tintin kelly Short Course
41. The Sneaky Weasel Gang Tane Cambridge Struan Webb Claire Bell Bobby Dean Full Course
42. Tiki Tour Tom Lucas Mike Kelly Kym Skerman George lucas Full Course
43. Unfinished Addiction Matt fredericksen Daralyn Hill Gary townsend Dean sisson Unranked
44. vertigoats nigel robertson warwick tuffnell Holly Weston Jamie Mountier Unranked
45. VICTORY VETS nelson Brendan hickman Anthony Oswald Adam Stanyer Tina Moore Full Course
46. What The Spork? Glen warner Nicole Ranger Timothy Hargrave helen liley Short Course
47. Wild dogs Shane Armstrong jarrod teddy Ben Miller Ashley graham Full Course
Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. AntiqueS Roadshow Marc Scott Leanne Foote Matt Pepper Trish Stockman Full Course
2. Chafing the Dream lisa payne Matt Carter shane clapperton vaughn woods Unranked
3. Crossing Peaks jake VARGo Alistair Bird Oliver Thompson Poppy Mitchell Retired
4. Duck Duck Gooseberries Justus Katzur Emily Hunter Sasha CHeng Joshua Schollum Full Course
5. East Coast Adventures Rodney Toone Barry Warneford Niki bridge Brendon fuller Unranked
6. Gizzy Gold Amy Spence Nicki Davies Ashley Cassin Shane Janssen Unranked
7. Mahi Tahi Fiona Shanhun ANDrew thornton Clint McCormick JOHNNY MITCHELL Unranked
8. No Limits Andrew Fleming Michael Lieshout Gerard lieshout Greg Lieshout Unranked
9. Otautahians jonny brewer David Rose Jaega banga Kendra Roddis Unranked
10. The Brains Trust Jason Dobson Tom Hall Sommer 0'Shea Matt Smalberger Full Course
11. THe long and the short of it (TigErs) Chris Hohe Yvonne grosch Derek Hartley Thomas GillMan Unranked
12. Uncomfortably Numb patrick foley will hjorth jack foley Kelsi parker Full Course

The Route

A breathtaking journey through some of the North Island's most spectacular terrain with the occasional visit to a local community located around the wider Bay of Plenty and Taupo regions. The GZ Pure route covered a total distance of approximately 660km, right up there with the longest of Chapters. Adding to the difficulty was the significant amount of ascent at 13,000m. The route comprised roughly 90km of trekking, 365km of biking, 57km of kayaking, 21km of rogaining and 135km of packrafting. The GZ Pursuit event covered approximately 592km and 10,400m of ascent.

The route won great favour with many teams remarking on it being the most diverse and challenging races they had ever done. Definitely more of an expedition-style event than a race. The biking was probably the most engaging and interesting that we have done. Most stages had some form of strategic or navigational element which kept decision making and the navigators on their toes. The rogaine section in Whirinaki State Forest tested the best and put the pretenders in their place. Everyone walked away knowing that they had been involved in a true adventure.


Well done to everyone taking on this epic challenge. No doubt, it was a big one. A true adventure and not for those looking for a bucket list tick. Over 50% of the GZ Pure teams managed to get to the finish line on the Full Course. Bravo, that's a fine effort. It was tougher going on the GZ Pursuit course with just 25% of the teams managing to get to the finish line with a ranking.

Team Avaya were always going to be the team to beat. They have a lot of pedigree and more experience than all the top teams added together. They were just as devastating with a support crew as they are without one. We expect them to succeed in sections where navigation and strategy are at the fore. However, they blew everyone away on the first bike ride with a super fast time, showing that they still have the horsepower to go with all the stuff inside their heads. Special mentions for iSport who had a few personnel changes in the lead up, yet managed to come in a well-deserved second place. Tiki Tour closed out the podium in their 9th visit to GODZONE...always there. Good on them.

GODZONE Chapter 9 - Rotorua, was won by the Avaya team. The team comprised Nathan Fa'avae, Stu Lynch, Sophie Hart, and Chris Forne. Avaya completed the challenging course imperiously, biking into Waipa Bike Hub in Rotorua early on Wednesday morning, completing the course in just a shade under 5 days. A tremendous effort.

This team has never been beaten at GODZONE and it was a stellar performance with everyone glued to their progress on Live Coverage. They remain the team to beat on any course and at any venue. Someone, somewhere, will need to come up with something impressive to knock them down one place on the podium.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. Avaya Nathan Fa'avae Sophie Hart Stu Lynch Chris Forne 04d 23h 25m
2. iSport Theo Wordsworth Dougal Allan Simone Maier Richie McCaw 05d 08h 15m
3. Tiki Tour Tom Lucas Mike Kelly George Lucas Kym Skerman 05d 10h 16m
4. Ataraxia - Macpac Tom Reynolds Hannah Lowe Matt Jeans Shaun Palmer 05d 16h 43m
5. Racers Edge - Torpedo 7 Richard Anderson Tim Farrant Tim Sikma Sara Prince 05d 22h 00m

A diverse field of racers, particularly in the mixed teams and a tough course. There was a relatively low finish rate in the GZ Pursuit event with just 25% of the teams completing the full course. The length and difficulty slowly chipped away at the leading teams and it was those teams who could go the distance that graced the podium. Hats off to Duck Duck Gooseberries who took out top spot after a long and well earned 6 and half days on the Rotorua course.

Definitely a monies worth of adventure. Just getting to the finish was a massive achievement by the few who did it.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. Duck Duck Gooseberries Jastus Katzur Emily Hunter Sasha Cheng Joshua Schollum 06d 12h 25m
2. Uncomfortably Numb Patrick Foley Will Hjorth Jack Foley Kelsey Parker 06d 14h 40m
3. The Brains Trust Jason Dobson Tom Hall Sommer O'Shea Matt Smalberger 07d 02h 58m
4. Antiques Roadshow Marc Scaff Leanne Foote Matt Pepper Trish Stockman 07d 02h 58m
5. Unranked Unranked Unranked Unranked Unranked 10d 00h 00m