Eights train at Sparks Rowing Development Camp on Lake Hayes in Queenstown, New Zealand. (Shot for camp film, “Get On With It.”)

Why Row in New Zealand?


We find that sending athletes abroad increases their awareness both personally and athletically. This allows them to benefit more from the experience – especially when they are placed in a training environment with and surrounded by kind, cooperative people in a safe culture. We have found the US collegiate community receptive to the toughness and independent motivation of returning athletes.

NZ Rowing: Strong Results, Stronger People

Rowing’s popularity in New Zealand is very high; it could be said kiwis are most passionate about rugby, sailing, and rowing whereas the average American is concerned with baseball, basketball, and football. Rowing’s popularity in New Zealand has produced advanced development systems for their rowing athletes and made it possible for this tiny country of only 4 million people to consistently produce a higher international medal count than even the U.S. – and they maintain arguably the highest per capita Olympic medal count in the sport.

The country’s culture pushes students to achieve both athletically and personally on a daily basis while keeping them in an environment that is grounded, extremely ethical, and good-humored.

A Special Place

Both our NZ programs provide multiple opportunities to take advantage of the stunning scenery, however they differ in what they provide. Our adventure program is meant as an introduction to what’s possible with cross-cultural training, while our development program is meant for athletes seeking to utilize the potential of rowing abroad to define their physiological and personal edge.

Our international programs are designed more as ‘programs’ than kids’ ‘rowing camps’, and may allow athletes to row with some of New Zealand’s best and with other rowers from the U.S. and around the world. We run admissions given our desire to provide for athlete goals, a desire to maintain solid relationships with our partners abroad, and the importance of group quality insofar as their commitment to rowing.

Ultimately although the two opportunities we offer in New Zealand differ greatly, our New Zealand alumni are some of our strongest proponents – and though it is a long flight, around 90% express interest in returning to the country upon program completion. Some already have.

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