Our Story

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In the Beginning………..
Kaituna Cascades was the first operator to start rafting the Kaituna River way back in the early 90’s! Long time raft guide and local guru kayaker Keith Hughes, started this legendary company in 1991 – Obviously only after a lot of practice runs down the formally considered “un-raftable” river with any willing friends, family or whoever was brave enough to test it out…..! The stoke was high, the river was unique and amazing, and it proved to be as safe as grade 5 can be – the rest is history.

After 26 awesome years of business, Keith retired and handed the reigns over to Pete Lodge, a Rotorua local who had been working for him since finishing high school, & Christchurch born, now local – Julian Mathison aka “Blue”, both who have been rafting for 20+ years. With a bunch of enthusiasm and new ideas, they continue to develop and pioneer new ways too have the absolute best time on our home river – the now world famous Kaituna River and “Tutea Falls” the 7 meter waterfall.

Our super friendly staff are our biggest asset, and are all hand picked due to their love of the outdoors and years of river experience in both extreme kayaking and white water rafting. The guides love being day to day comics with everyone that walks in the door! Having years of experience means that they can relax and entertain while keeping you safe! It’s like always hanging out with your mates at work having the best time, and that vibe generates the best atmosphere to create epic rafting trips, great banter and memories for you and the crew!

After 33 years of safe rafting, we are locally owned and operated by a couple of mates still currently raft guiding and loving life.

Being out on the river is our absolute passion, We look forward to meeting you!!

Meet our epic crew

Meet our epic crew



Join the Original Kaituna Rafting Company for an unbeatable grade 5 white- water experience on one of New Zealand’s most exciting and beautiful rivers!
Come Join us and our awesome crew!
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  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  Had awesome time on the river for the first time. Hamish was down to earth guide who made sure we had a great experience. Thank you so much Hamish and... read more

    April 20, 2022
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  So much fun. Guides were excellent. We felt safe while still experiencing the thrills of going over 2 waterfalls and in rapids. Beautiful setting and great pics. Definitely a must do

    April 20, 2022
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  This was a great adventure for us. Safety equipment all supplied, Excellent instructors, very thorough safety training and great sense of humour from the staff. Great value for money,... read more

    May 3, 2022
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  Fantastic trip for our mixed family group of all ages - such good fun, great guides, gear and experience. Highly recommended

    April 23, 2022
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  Amazing team and a lot of fun! Big shout to Eoin who was a great instructor. Despite the weather we had great time. Would totally do it again.

    Andrew D
    February 1, 2022
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  Awsome people hole lot of fun highly recommended, they have you having fun with a good laugh. Would defensive go back.

    April 21, 2021
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  Awesome experience, definitely recommend it to any adventure-seekers! Crew was instructive and made the trip fun and interactive.

    rona p
    January 1, 1970
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  What an amazing experience. Highly recommend to do it, what a rush.
    Best part was the whole trip!! Hehehe
    Blue and Pete were amazing who guided us throughout.... read more

    May 28, 2021
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  Professional team had a super fun time and felt safe and looked out for. Would highly recommend this company. Will be coming back for another ride.

    April 2, 2022
  • tripadvisor stars 5 - Our Story  So much fun! Guides Blue, Rob and Pete were very knowledgable and always put our safety first, but made sure we had heaps of fun rafting too. Such an adrenaline... read more

    June 1, 2021
TA logo primary@1X - Our Story