Newsletter 2 – Chapter 8

A massive thanks to you all for supporting Chapter 8, hosted by the wonderful Canterbury region. This Newsletter will provide you with key bits of information about the event. If you or your team mates, friends, family or supporters wish to keep up to date with developments then please remember to visit or like our Facebook page. If this Newsletter raises any questions or, if you are uncertain about any aspect of the event, please get in touch with us via the Contact Us page. We look forward to seeing you in 2019 for an Adventure Like No Other!

- Warren Bates (Race Director)

General Housekeeping

Given the amount of information released in Newsletter 1 this will be a deliberately brief Newsletter. Please ensure you read this and Newsletter 1 carefully. We recommend doing so whilst cross referencing the Mandatory Gear List, there are a few hidden clues about what lies ahead for the eagle eyed.

If you have been to a previous Chapter of GODZone you will know that we like to things to run smoothly. Check out the general housekeeping items below for your attention. We encourage all teams (and in particular, team captains and/or administrators) to ‘action’ any items that require some form of input, in a timely fashion – it will help ensure that you have the best possible event experience.


Teams now have the option to upgrade their maps to waterproof versions. This could be a blessing for those teams who like to seal/cover their maps before the start. The time and location of map preparation is quite limited and restricted for Chapter 8 (clue, it will not be back at your accommodation in Akaroa the night before the start) and pre-proofed maps could save you quite a bit of hassle. It’s your call. Regardless of whether you opt for standard maps or, pay extra for waterproof ones, all teams will be provided with two sets based on the 1:50 000 topographic series that is common to New Zealand. Follow this link for an example of a map used at the last event. There will be plenty of water sections in Canterbury and although it is a very dry region, it is also known to rain hard on occasion. Therefore, we would urge you all to consider carefully how you will keep your maps dry for the duration.

  • To upgrade to 2 sets of Waterproof Maps the cost will be $100
  • There is no option to purchase only one waterproof set
  • If you opt in to upgrade to waterproof maps, you will not receive the  standard 100gsm paper versions
  • Teams who do not upgrade will receive the standard maps for free
  • Due to a shortage of waterproof paper stock levels in the country we need to have orders in by 5PM Monday 17th December 2018
  • Orders should be done via your Team Login, selecting “yes” for Waterproof Maps Upgrade
  • Payment details will be sent out after the 18th December to all team administrators who confirm an upgrade

Team Information

A team list will be added to the website and released to the media when you wonderful team captains or administrators have provided us with a bit more information about yourselves (accessible from the Team Login page with your team administrators email and password). Competitors can update their team and team member information at any time by following the instructions below:

  • Visit the Team Login page
  • Insert your email address and password in the boxes (these will have been provided by email when you first registered – you can change your password, if you require, once you have logged in)
  • Click the Login button
  • Use the <Team Info> tab to update general information about your team (remember to press the Submit button – located at the top and bottom of the form – before you close the page, otherwise your update will not be saved)
  • Click on <Team Members Info> tab to update biographical information about your team of four (remember to press the Submit button – located at the top and bottom of the form – before you close the page, otherwise your update will not be saved)
  • The information collected here will also be used to populate Live Coverage so it is in your interest to do it
  • Teams have plenty of time to update their information and can make changes at any time. However, if you want to see a full team list and have your team showcased on social media then it would be great if you could input the information at your earliest convenience. We often receive requests from the media about teams from certain locations or those that have interesting dynamics. Unless we know who you are racing with, we can’t point the media to you. Help us to help you.

Emergency Beacon

All teams should know that a PLB or emergency beacon is a mandatory requirement for this Chapter of GODZone. It will be carried in addition to the YB GPS Tracker that the Organisers provide. The use of either of these devices will be outlined at the pre-race briefing and gear check. All teams must provide their Team Personal Locator Beacon Hex ID or UIN number (15 characters – numbers and letters) on their Team Information page (see above for login details).

Gear Boxes

A very final reminder to please update the quantity of gear boxes you require, if any, via the Team Login page with your team administrators email and password. Information about required gear boxes is available in Newsletter 1.  Please give this your prompt attention otherwise we will assume you are all sorted and require no further assistance in this regard. Deadline extremely imminent!

Team Finder

A reminder to all teams administrators and/or captains that you can Sign Up your team to the Team Finder page, if you are looking to fill a position in your team. You can also look for replacements at the Team Finder Search page. Injuries, substitutions and last minute replacements are commonplace in expedition events and this feature may help you link up with that person you’ve been waiting for all your life (or, at least since you realised that your navigator was utterly out of their depth).

Registration & Race HQ

Three venues to take note of below (for all GZ Pure, GZ Pursuit and GZ Prime teams):

  • Event briefing and welcome will take place at The Gaiety Hall, 105 Rue Jolie, Akaroa on Saturday 9th March 2019
  • Registration and mandatory gear check will take place at Akaroa Area School gymnasium, 141 Rue Jolie, Akaroa on Saturday 9th March 2019
  • Team photos and race bib hand out will take place at Akaroa Boat Shed, Beach Road, Akaroa on Saturday 9th March 2019

All venues are within a very short walking distance of each other. Specific times will be promulgated to teams in subsequent newsletters.

Race HQ, for the entire duration of the event, will be based at Akaroa Sports Pavilion which is located on Akaroa Recreation Ground.

AR Duo kayaks, inflatable canoes and any other race equipment provided by the organisers will be available for testing and observation at Race HQ on Saturday 9th of March. Teams should be prepared for an early race start on Sunday the 10th. Teams should note that starting on a Sunday is unusual for GODZone – traditional starts have been on the Saturday – this will mean that more teams will finish closer to the second weekend of the event, allowing more spectators from Christchurch and neighbouring towns to come and share in your finish line experience and celebrations. More specific schedule information will follow in subsequent Newsletters. For a general overview of event timing please check out the Schedule.

Post Race Celebrations

We are planning to host post race celebrations at the finish line on the afternoon and evenings of Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th of March respectively. We will be working with local business and stakeholders, as well as our special GODZone beer creator, Altitude Brewing, to create a wonderful finish line vibe, encouraging locals, supporters, family and fans to pop down and celebrate the end of your Chapter 8 journey. All are welcome and everyone will be encouraged to attend. A special Saturday night celebration will also take place on the 16th for our volunteers and crew who do so much to make this massive event possible. More specific schedule information will follow in subsequent Newsletters.

Altitude Brewing

They have been crafting a unique GODZone beer for the past two years. It’s with great pleasure that we welcome back the boys from Altitude Brewing for their third round at Chapter 8.  It’s been a super busy time for these crafting maestros as they have opened a brand new Altitude Brewing Brewery & Taproom in Queenstown. We encourage local teams to get amongst it and we hope to host some fun information nights about GODZone, at the bar, in the near future.

Facing the waters of Lake Wakatipu, their brand new brewery and taproom is located at 827 Frankton Road, beside the Frankton Marina. Featuring a 1200L brewhouse imported from Portland, Oregon, the team are continuing to produce medal-winning classics such as Mischievous Kea IPA, Powder Day Pilsner and the GODZone special, Compulsory Checkpoint Ale. Open to the public and located right on the Frankton Track, there’s no excuse not to finish your training run at the bar.

Course Update

First things first. No crampons and ice axes are required for Chapter 8 (some of you will be disappointed, others will be punching the air in delight – there is no ‘one size fits all’ in adventure racing). Reconnaissance missions have shown that snow conditions are now incredibly unreliable and these risks escalate later in the season. The climbing window for snow/ice seems to be getting shorter and shorter every passing year. We take competitor safety very seriously and with this in mind, you can park your glacial travel rig for another day or Chapter.

You won’t be surprised to hear that course planning and reconnaissance is the most enjoyable part of organising GODZone. We spend many months deliberating over the vast amount of route options and your every potential step is carefully deliberated over. The simple placement of a checkpoint could take many days to discuss as we are always striving to give you the best experience and provide a course with the right balance of adventure, risk and reward.

This is a course with a very different feel to last year’s Fiordland event. Big mountains and big rivers are a feature of Canterbury – with that comes incredible views, lung bursting and quad mashing ascents/descents and varied travel times. The way up can be taxing, at times, but when you get clear ground, you can generally make good time, which is reflected in the outline stats below.

The GZ Pure course traverses a distance of approximately 600km with around 11000m of ascent (our longest and most vertically challenging event yet). The GZ Pursuit and GZ Prime courses are shorter with approximately 8500m of ascent.  The course distances break down into about 50% biking, 20% on foot, 30% water based activities – depending, of course, on route choice and whether you get short coursed, etc.

GZ Pure teams have seven days to complete the full or short course. GZ Pursuit and GZ Prime teams will also have seven days to complete their full and short courses. At this time there is at least one confirmed Dark Zone, due to safety. Depending on a teams position and timing, it may mean camping in a remote location. It is conceivable that your team may be dark zoned for over 10hours – with this in mind in makes sense to have food, clothing, cooker and shelter to cater for such an eventuality – and it might be raining, cold or both.

The water sections will play a significant part in the event and we, as ever, highly recommend that all our participants ‘skill up’ and ensure that they are capable of coping with open water paddling and white water. The course covers sections of open water for both GZ Pure and GZ Pursuit events that may or may not be exposed to wind and waves, depending on conditions. The river canoeing may be up to Grade III.

All GZ Pure teams should take their packraft training seriously. There is not as much packrafting as Fiordland but still a very healthy dose. Those little rafts will be your best friends at some points of the race. If you don’t optimise your use of them, learn how to pack them up and down quickly and efficiently, making sure you have ample carrying capacity between the four of you, you are going to have the odd relationship breakdown. Get out in those rafts and use the backpack (probably 40-50litre+) you intend to use during the event for moving it about. Time spent preparing for packrafting will not be wasted.

Mandatory Gear Update

There are no changes at this time to the mandatory gear list.

Event Sponsors & Partners

We’d just like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing support we get from our event partners and sponsors. Fact is that without them, GODZone would not happen. Entry fees alone do not come close to covering the cost of putting on an event and media showcase of this magnitude. We are lucky to have developed some wonderful long term relationships with many of our partners and we hope that you can recognise their support, down the line, in whatever way you can….whether that be through product choices, purchases or sharing their brands on your social media outlets. It helps us to keep the adventure racing ball rolling ever faster and further.

Before we get into our long term partners, we’d just like to make an extra special hat tip and thank you to the great people at ChristchurchNZ.

To explore Christchurch now is to experience contrast. In the brand-new city, bold glass, concrete and even cardboard structures stand proud amid heritage architecture – treasured now more than ever. It is a world-class destination for viewing street art and a place where people produce food in the CBD – from a hotel with beehives on the roof to inner-city cafés with their own vegetable patches. It is a cycle-friendly and walkable city, with a 2.8-kilometre shared promenade for pedestrians, cyclists and slow-moving vehicles along the Ōtākaro/Avon River. It’s laneways are paved with basalt in a nod to the Port Hills — the playground with volcanic roots right on our doorstep. Christchurch is a place of contrasts. It’s a place where locals have a penchant for exploring and trying new things – and invite others to do the same.


GODZone is once again thrilled to be working with Merrell NZ as the exclusive apparel sponsor for Chapter 8. Canterbury is home to Merrell NZ’s head office and the team are super enthusiastic about having the event in their region.

“At Merrell we exist to give you all you need to discover the simple yet profound power of the trail. We work hard to make getting outdoors, wherever you go and whatever you do, as simple as possible, because we believe your time should be spent enjoying your surroundings, not worrying about how your gear will perform. It’s about being ready for adventure at a drop of a hat.”  DO WHAT’S NATURAL.


Train Like the Experts with Barracuda Kayaks

If you’re new to multisport or kicking solo training into gear, we highly recommend the new Barracuda Enigma. Designer and manufacturer Gordon Robinson have developed the next generation boat from the original Beachcomber specifically for down river and multisport paddling. Adventure Racing Champion Bob McLachlan from Best Foot Forward NZ has been using the Enigma as an instructional boat whilst tutoring clients who want to improve their paddling skills.

“ It is a fantastic beginner to intermediate kayak and offers comfort , stability and speed. It has unparalleled safety with its watertight bulkheads, which make it ideal if you train in open water, rivers, or the sea. The additional benefit of purchasing the Enigma is that you can use it outside of multisport, as a recreational sea kayak.”


Swordfox Champion Champions

Meet the inside team at Swordfox – they are our secret weapon.

GODZone has worked closely with Georgina, Rebecca and the crew for the past three years as they have ably assisted with the development of an awesome brand strategy and the associated GODZone branding. Swordfox has provided guidance and continuity in graphic design, marketing initiatives, video & social media content, art direction and website design. The crew are super effective, great communicators, funny and always have sweets in their design studio. Plus their Swordfox sponsored racing team keep us on our toes each year pushing for that win!


Eat More Race Hard

Hopefully you’ve all started thinking about race food as part of preparations for GODZone and testing out what your team likes to eat over summer training.  Back Country Cuisine have introduced some new meals into their light and tasty freeze dried meal range which are deliciously tempting. We highly recommend taste testing the new Lamb Stirfry, Jamaican Goat Curry and Carrot Cake & Custard Dessert.

As you know Back Country Cuisine products will be provided to GODZone teams at an undisclosed food station sometime during Chapter 8 so if you’d like to see their full range of meal options, meal weights and nutritional info or find your nearest stockist in NZ, Australia or South Africa head online.


Searching for that Compulsory Checkpoint

Yes, the boys at Altitude Brewing have been hard at it brewing up a storm and we are pleased to announce that the unique GODZone beer, Compulsory Checkpoint will be released into the market place early 2019. You can go in search of some training brews prior to GODZone or drop by their new Altitude Brewery for a tasty beverage over summer at the Queenstown Marina.

The Altitude team will also be representing at Red Bull Defiance in January serving chilled beersies and cheering on their two X4 teams who will be racing. Eddie says one of them will be highly competitive – but he won’t say which one!



Prizes & Categories

Trophies, awards and prize money for Chapter 8 are set out below. Teams should be aware of the conditions in regards to the payment of prize money. The split of prize money between the GZ Pure, GZ Prime and GZ Pursuit events is a broad correlation with the number of teams in each category. ‘Grey areas’ are a common theme in adventure racing and no doubt some will debate the conditions applied, in particular, to the International and Colt teams. The important thing to reflect on is the spirit of the prize money and what it is there for. In the case of the International Teams, it is there to encourage teams who live, work and play in another country and under a different flag, to visit the land of the long white cloud and home of adventure racing. It is not a prize to reward the best team from New Zealand made up of people with dual passports. Ditto with the Colt Teams. It is there to recognise the efforts of new, young, participants in adventure racing and encourage more to make this the sport that gets them out of bed at the weekend. It isn’t really about rewarding the team who sneaks under the age barrier but has already competed at 20 expedition events between them.

Hopefully, everyone will reflect on the spirit of these prizes and not lose sight of the fact that the biggest prize of all is just being out on the course with your team.

GZ Pure Prizes & Categories

Category Prize Pool Prize Details
GZ Trophy $20,000 $20,000 Total Prize Pool. Cash prizes available on the following basis: 1st overall = $10,000; 2nd overall $6,000; 3rd overall $4,000. Teams must contain at least one female and complete the full course in the time allowed to qualify for cash prizes. Prize money will not be reallocated if less than 3 teams qualify for prizes. The 1st placed team will win the GODZone trophy.
International Team $10,000 $10,000 Total Prize Pool. Prizes available on the following basis: 1st international team = $6,000 cash; 2nd international team $3,000 cash; 3rd international team $1,000 sponsor product. Teams must contain at least one female and complete the full course in the time allowed to qualify for cash prizes. All team members must have an overseas passport, be full time domiciled and resident overseas to qualify as an international team. Prize money will not be reallocated if less than 3 teams qualify for prizes. The 1st placed international team will win the GZ International Trophy.
Colt Team $10,000 $10,000 Total Prize Pool. Prizes available on the following basis: 1st colt team = Free Entry to Chapter 9 GODZone. Teams must contain at least one female and complete the full course in the time allowed to qualify for prizes. All team members must be under 30 years old and the team must have a cumulative age of less than 110 years to qualify as a colt team (at the time of the race start). The 1st placed colt team will win the GZ Colt Trophy.

GZ Pursuit Prizes & Categories

Category Prize Pool Prize Details
GZ Pursuit Trophy $6,000 $6,000 Total Prize Pool. Prizes available on the following basis: 1st overall = $3,000 cash; 2nd overall $2,000 sponsor product; 3rd overall $1,000 sponsor product. Teams must contain at least one female and complete the full course in the time allowed to qualify for cash prizes. Prizes will not be reallocated if less than 3 teams qualify for prizes. The 1st placed team will win the GZ Pursuit Trophy.

GZ Prime Prizes & Categories

Category Prize Pool Prize Details
GZ Prime Trophy $4,000 $4,000 Total Prize Pool. Prizes available on the following basis: 1st overall = $2,500 sponsor product; 2nd overall $1,000 sponsor product; 3rd overall $500 sponsor product. Teams must contain at least one female and complete the full course in the time allowed to qualify for cash prizes. Prize will not be reallocated if less than 3 teams qualify for prizes. The 1st placed team will win the GZ Prime Trophy.

Final Thoughts

Past experience has shown us that it is about this time that one or two teams will have the odd ‘wobble’. The captain will circulate Newsletter 2 and ask how the team’s training and preparation is going. Most will be going great but there will be the person who will admit that training is not quite going as expected or that work/family commitments are looking quite onerous going forward. The fact is most people find it difficult to fit in full time jobs, family, training and at the same time remain vaguely sociable. You are not alone. It is often the case that the best and/or most prolific adventure racers are the ones with the most jam-packed lives and the barriers to taking part are often based on perception rather than reality.

Team administrators and captains are advised to keep in touch with team members and ensure that they are motivated and reassured. If a team mate is worried about their ability to compete then perhaps it’s best not to open up the dialogue with a blow by blow account of how the other 3 team members just spent the last week paddling around Stewart Island, doing shuttle runs on the knee deep sand dunes in the evenings just to use up some surplus energy. Do your best to reassure those with doubts and remember that this is a team event. People who begin expedition events at less than 100% fitness often start slowly and finish strongly – that’s the perfect way to conquer GODZone. As an alternative, if you are a GZ Pure team who is unsure about the magnitude of what lies ahead, why not consider moving to the GZ Pursuit or GZ Prime course? A positive experience should be the number 1 goal.

Don’t forget to tap into the Team Finder page to see if there is someone ready, willing and able to step into your team.

It is worth noting that there is nothing wrong with being daunted about what lies ahead. GODZone is the most challenging (but ultimately the most rewarding) endurance event in New Zealand and those who enter with delusions about how tough it is are in for a rude awakening. That said, it is this challenge that elevates you above the norm and your friends, fans and family will rightly elevate you to hero-status for simply having the courage to stand on the start line. You can do it.

Enjoy your training, prepare well as a team and if there is anything we can help you with in the interim, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Oh and remember to spend some time with your favourite blow up toy. That’s right, your packraft, eh?

Train smart, get the skills and we look forward to seeing you at the Adventure Like No Other next year. It’s going to be truly epic.