Behind the scenes – KASK Kayak Fest 2017, Ponui Island

For something to go like clockwork…first you have to wind up the clock! And keep on winding it. Last March Shaun Maclaren and KASK President Tim Muhundan had a powwow, and invited six others to a meeting on 6 April, so they could share their vision of “taking the KASK forum to another level, catering for confident paddlers, at a unique location in the Hauraki Gulf”. Within two hours we were revved up and ‘on-board’, each with a ‘portfolio’ and jobs to do.

L – R in photo: Chris Breen – Deputy Chair, finance; Jim Hawkins – sponsors; Nick Webb – program; Shelley Stuart – catering; Shaun Maclaren – Chairman, logistics, safety; Ruth Henderson – program, instructors; Pauline Ross – finance, marketing, registration; Tim Muhundan – KASK President, marketing, registration.
Rotoroa Island was visited and discounted; Ponui seemed ideal and despite some foreseeable challenges, (no roads, no power…) was quickly settled upon. It was game on.
Throughout the year we met every month, mainly at each other’s homes – from Howick in the east, to Hobsonville in the west and even paddled over to Kawau Island in the north. Timelines and agendas were made, problems were solved, and disagreements resolved, minutes recorded, duties and deadlines were met.
By early December we had a formidable line up of instructors and program available on-line, some keen sponsors and a healthy number of registrations. We combined a second reconnaissance on Ponui Island with a Yakity Yak club trip as a trial run and subsequently tweaked a few things.

January and February passed in a blur of paperwork and lists: noteworthy was Shaun’s epic Event Safety and Risk Plan at 33 pages long; the equipment list which grew and grew – from extension cords, to sledge hammers and whiteboard pens; and the people lists –attendees, car-park attendants, pub quiz groups…
Twenty four hours before the first participants set out from Kawakawa Bay, the event organising team, plus one honorary member, Shaun’s wife, Glenda Ray, arrived with truck and trailer, fizz boat and kayaks.

Pictures being worth a thousand words – best let them speak…and yes, that is donkey shit being shovelled…

and, no I do not know how many journey’s the fizz boat made carrying warratah stakes to loud speaker systems to stacks of chairs.

Sand bags were filled to muffle the generator noise,

projectors and sound systems were installed.

Goodie Bags were filled,

rules and regulation obligations…from marking out a helicopter pad to filling in a hazard board… were met.

By Friday lunchtime we were ready – the new KASK flag was raised… we waved and called out a welcoming “Haere mai” as each pod reached the shores of Ponui Island.
Soon the grass and foreshore was covered in colourful tents and kayaks…and queues formed as people added their names to activity lists. The games had begun.
Forty eight hours later, it was “Haere ra”. Pods departed, the catering truck (this time without hiccup), the play-boats, the skin-on-frames and a swag of gear was loaded onto the barge

…and the clean-up began…white-tack, staples were removed, posters rolled…

a dozen dunnys and every metre of the grounds were scoured…

On Monday morning we left one of the jewels in the Hauraki Gulf, pristine.
The past twelve months have been a great journey…if you get ‘shoulder tapped’ for the next event; grab the opportunity to work with a diverse bunch of people to create something for your kayaking community.



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