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Event info

We invite you to join us in Rotorua for the 2020 New Zealand PG Open, which, if valid, is also the New Zealand Paragliding Championship.

While we may not have snowy peaks, we have a couple of exceptional flying arenas that are very well suited to nice racey flights and neck in neck competition.

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Flying site

The competition is based in Rotorua, the thermal wonderland of New Zealand’s North Island. A popular tourist destination with lots to see and do if we have any non-taskable days.

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How to get here

The competition base will be the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park. Motel unit 1.

Event info

We invite you to join us in Rotorua for the 2020 New Zealand PG Open, which, if valid, is also the New Zealand Paragliding Championship.

While we may not have snowy peaks, we have a couple of exceptional flying arenas that are very well suited to nice racey flights and neck in neck competition. Our wonderful flat lands with countless safe landings... our nice big ridges and a couple of sphincter puckering forest crossings... oooo yeah, bring it on.
This location has the highest success rate, regarding valid tasks, of all the usual PGOpen location in recent years. When we did the PG Open here in 2017 we had 6 flying days out of 7, and 4 of them were valid tasks. We had a 0% injury rate and it's an expectation that we repeat that.

As well as great flying we intend to have a really fun time, and we intend to welcome overseas pilots with open arms and a cold beer (once they have their NZHGPA visiting pilot membership, of course). We'll have a nice welcoming party, a mid week session and, of course, a great end of comp dinner with prize giving.

Fun, Competition, Team Work and Learning are all pillars that we work with when organising a competition, and you can choose to prioritise these in any order you like. The number one priority, however, is not negotiable and that is SAFETY. Because of this, this is the first NZ competition to be SATELLITE TRACKER MANDATORY.

Flying site

The competition is based in Rotorua, the thermal wonderland of New Zealand’s North Island. A popular tourist destination with lots to see and do if we have any non-taskable days.
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Within easy reach of Rotorua are two of the premier flying sites in the North Island; The Kaimai Range to the north and the Paeroa Range to the south.

The Kaimai Range lies in the middle of a series of mountain ranges approximately 180km long and running roughly NNW from Rotorua with the Coromandel Range to the north and the Mamaku Range to the south. The Kaimai Range itself is about 85km long and separates the Waikato in the west from the Bay of Plenty in the east. The highest point of the range is Mount Te Aroha at 3127ft (953 m), at the foot of which lies the town of Te Aroha. The altitude at take-off is around 2460ft (750m). That’s over 2200ft (670m) above the Hauraki Plains/Thames valley below, home to the town of Matamata which is clearly visible from take-off. The Kaimai Range's rugged terrain and conservation park status results in only one road passing over it; State Highway 29 providing the main road link between the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato.

The Paeroa Range, not to be confused with the town of Paeroa much further north, lies to the south of Rotorua towards Taupo, another popular tourist destination. The range is approximately 15km long and runs roughly NE to SW with Mt Paeroa the highest point at 3212ft (979m). The altitude at take-off is around 2967ft (904m). That’s over 1600ft (488m) from the Waikite Valley floor below which is mostly farmland although the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are nestled in the north east end of the valley. These are a great place to relax after a busy day paragliding.

Both of these sites are accessed through private property with locked gates and strict protocols apply to ensure continued good relations with land owners and ongoing access to these premier flying sites. Access to the sites is managed by the Waikato Club and initial site access to the Paeroa site is only allowed when accompanied by a local pilot familiar with the site protocols. The Kaimai site shall only ever be accessed when accompanied by an official site key holder who is responsible for ensuring site protocols are observed. The Kaimai site also has a daily access fee which is likely to be included in the competition registration fee.

Meeting points for accessing these sites are as follows:
Kaimai Site: 37°49'3.88"S 175°52'10.26"E Google Maps
Paeroa Site: 38°19'32.44"S 176°19'37.48"E Google Maps

Weather station web sites:
Kaimai Site: https://holfuy.com/en/weather/622
Paeroa Site: https://holfuy.com/en/weather/797

A site briefing will be conducted to ensure all pilots are aware of their responsibilities and the site protocols. Any behaviour that threatens ongoing access to these site will not be tolerated.

Here are some links to more information about the region:
https://www.hotpools.co.nz/ (Waikite Valley Thermal Pools)

Selection and entry fee

Registration is now open. The cost, per pilot, is NZ$250.

Please note that, if we fly at the Kaimais, then this will cost an additional $10 per pilot as a once-off fee. We will try to absorb this into the cost but can't confirm this until nearer the time. Meanwhile - please budget for this.

Note that the entry fee does NOT include any transport or lunches.
Pilots are required to upload their own tracklogs for this event. There will be some limited help (e.g. laptop and assistance) available to help with this.

It will include pilot barbecues, prize giving dinner, a beer, an ICEBREAKER MERINO SHIRT (!!!) and a jolly good time.
Extra tickets for prize giving are $40 per head.

All pilots must have the following or they will not be allowed to partake in the competition and no refund will be offered:
* A valid NZHGPA membership (visitors see here: http://www.nzhgpa.org.nz/visiting-pilots)
* A satellite tracker (e.g. Delorme or Spot)... this is now MANDATORY for safety reasons
* A wing, certified up to CCC. For NZ pilots this must have a current WoF.
* Helmet and certified back protection in your harness
* GPS Tracker
* Altimeter
* UHF Radio (476 to 477 Mhz)
* A responsible attitude and a sense of humour

*Selection Schedule*
If a pilot transfers money before they invited to pay then the money will be immediately refunded minus any bank costs.
Places will only be offered to pilots who have registered for the event on Airtribune.
Places will be allocated to pilots based on the following schedule:

31st July 2019
5 wild card places will be offered to the main organisers of the competition who are also intending to compete.

31st August 2019
10 places based on WPRS points, then 10 places based on NZPRS points

30th September 2019
10 places based on WPRS points, then 10 places based on NZPRS points

31st October 2019
5 places based on WPRS points, then 5 places based on NZPRS points

30th November 2019
5 places based on WPRS points, then 5 places based on NZPRS points

1st December 2019 onwards…
Places will be awarded at the discretion of the Comp Director in the form of wild cards. No correspondence will necessarily be entered into regarding these allocations. Pilots who have previously been allocated a place but have not yet paid will not necessarily be entitled to a wild card.
As per FAI rules, sufficient places may need to be retained until 16th February to ensure the 25% criteria is met for international pilots.

*Invitation to Pay*
Immediately after an allocation round, the selected pilots will have their status changed (on Airtribune) to “Waiting for Payment” and an email will be sent, with payment details, inviting the pilot to pay.
The pilot then has three weeks from that date to have their payment confirmed.
If a pilot does not pay within the three weeks then they will be invited to pay one more time (assuming they still meet the selection criteria) in the next allocation cycle. If they do not pay after being invited to do so twice then they will be offered no further invitations to pay and not necessarily offered a wild card place. Therefore it is strongly recommended to pay at your soonest convenience and it makes it a hell of a lot easier for us. x x

Refund request received before 31 December 2019 = 50% refund
Refund request received after 31 December 2019 = no refund
All refunds will have any administration fee, such as bank transfer deducted.
If you decide to drop out then it is NOT possible to nominate someone to replace you - you will be refunded and the slot will be filled by another pilot at the organiser's discretion

Pilots who are deemed to detract from the safety, or successful organisation, of the competition may be refused entry. A reason may nor may not be given and correspondence on this will probably not be entered in to.

Prize fund and scoring categories

National Prizes

New Zealand Champion
New Zealand Women's Champion (or Opposite Sex)
New Zealand Serial Class
New Zealand Sport Class
New Zealand Fun Class
Gill Borst Memorial Trophy
Leo Geary Trophy
Personal Best Trophy
Regional Trophy
Possibly the TransTasman Trophy

Local Prizes
1st, 2nd and 3rd in Overall, Women, Serial, Sport and Fun
Random spot prizes will be awarded daily

General schedule

Sat 29th February afternoon - Registration, please complete by 18:00
Sat 29th February 20:00 - Mandatory Briefing... very basic BBQ
Sun 1st March - Comp flying day and welcome dinner, nom nom nom.
Mon 2nd March - Comp flying day
Tue 3rd March - Comp flying day
Wed 4th March - Comp flying day and mid-comp BBQ
Thu 5th March - Comp flying day
Fri 6th March - Comp flying day
Sat 7th March - Comp flying day, Prize Giving Dinner and Paaaarrrrr-taaaaaay

Daily schedule

09:00 Briefing at HQ
10:00 Convoy leaves towards hill
12:00 Approx time of hill briefing
Approx 19:30 - Often something fun happening back at HQ
Approx 20:00 Twilight

Accommodation and Activities

By far the best place to stay is the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park: https://rotoruathermal.co.nz/
They have heaps of tent sites but cabins will be filling up fast. Not sure yet if we will get a discount, probably not but it doesn't hurt to ask.

There are lots of other accommodation options in Rotorua.
Booking early is a good idea, though, as things do get very busy at this time of year.

How to get here

Drive to Rotorua, that's probably the best way. Or take a bus and then a taxi from the bus station to the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park.
If you are flying in then it's best to fly to Auckland and rent a car from there... don't dick around with trying to fly to Rotorua, it will cost heaps and not save any time, I think.

27 Moncur Dr, Springfield, Rotorua 3015, New Zealand
Rotorua NZ


The nearest airport is Auckland.
Rotorua Regional Airport is located 9 km (6 mi) northeast of the city centre, off State Highway 30. Air New Zealand provides daily turbo-prop flights between Rotorua and Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch airports. Previously Qantas also operated Boeing 737 aircraft from Christchurch, but upon their departure from domestic flights in New Zealand this was discontinued.


Catch a cheap bus Auckland to Rotorua with InterCity, with fares from just $1 (+ booking fee). Buses from Auckland to Rotorua depart from the main InterCity bus terminal at 102 Hobson St (Auckland Central) or from Manukau City. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes. More info


Rotorua is served by state highways 5, 30, and 30A, and the Thermal Explorer Highway touring route, with state highways 33 and 36 terminating on the outskirts of the town.

State Highway 5, running concurrently with the Thermal Explorer Highway, is the main north-south route through Rotorua, bypassing the town centre to the west. North of the town at Ngongotaha, State Highway 36 splits off to provide a route to Tauranga via Pyes Pa, while State Highway 5 turns westward, connecting to State Highway 1 at Tirau and providing the main route into Rotorua from Hamilton and Auckland. To the south, State Highway 5 provides the main route from Taupo, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, and Wellington.

State Highway 30 runs southwest to northeast through the town. It enters the town in the southwest (running concurrently with SH 5), before crossing the southern suburbs to the shore of Lake Rotorua east of the town centre. It then runs through the suburb of Te Ngae, before splitting off SH 33 to continue eastwards.

State Highway 30A runs northwest to southeast, connecting State Highways 5 and 30 with each other via the town centre.



Johnny Hopper
Comp Director and Main Organiser
Kyla MacDonald
Dave Washer
Ruggedly attractive and also a nice guy
Dominique Le Sellin
Mark Macdonald
Sites and Landowners



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