Contact Energy reduced the Hawea River's flow this week to
allow the removal of a rogue willow tree which left a kayaker
pinned underwater last Friday.
The paddler was swept under the willow, which had been
undermined and had slipped into the popular river about 4.7km
downstream of the Camphill Road bridge between Wanaka and
Queenstown Lakes District harbourmaster Marty Black said one
member of a kayaking group tipped out in a rapid and was
swept into the tree. He managed to grab a branch but was
dragged by the water beneath the tree and struggled for a
''significant amount of time''.
He was rescued by another person who had been accompanying
the kayakers in a raft.
This week, Contact Energy reduced the Hawea River's flow from
50-60cumecs to about 10cumecs as it looked for a way to
remove the problem willow.
''Thanks to Contact Energy, which reduced the river flow and
also agreed to underwrite the cost of the operation, two
trees were removed from the river [on Tuesday night],'' Mr
Black said last night.