St Johns





Sad news


Steve Skinner, an enthusiastic local multisporter, hard working member of the organising committee and race director for the Canal Kayak, was tragically killed in an accident on 5th October. As someone who had paddled the old Kayak marathon, Steve joined the committee in 2009 specifically with the idea of getting the kayak event back up and running. With a great deal of hard work, he was successful in achieving this last year but sadly Steve is not around to see it develop further this year. However we are determined to still run the event as that is what Steve would have wanted.


We have renamed this event the Steve Skinner Canal Kayak in memory of his passion and hard work to get this event back into the weekend. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.


Rest in Peace Steve. 

What is Hard Labour Weekend all about?


The Meridian Twizel Hard Labour Weekend had its background back in 1985 when a half marathon was started as a fundraiser for kids sport. It has morphed through a number of different events at different sites to what we have today - three events (mountain bike, kayak and off-road run) over two days. Competitors can enter individual events or for the really keen, complete all three events and become a Hard Labourer.

However apart from providing some really good events in a very relaxed atmosphere, the weekend still has its focus on fund raising for local kids sports teams (snow sports, rugby, netball and rowing) which are burdened with the costs of travel and purchase of equipment. In recent years we have helped support individual students with their Outward Bound fees and travel to national sports tournaments. We also help other community groups such as St Johns, Kindy and the Twizel Early Learning Centre. Over the last four years, just under $80,000 has been raised for these worthwhile causes.

In return for these donations, the kids and their parents are expected to help out at the events. They are the people in hi-viz vests directing cars in the car park, marshaling you on the course, handing out drinks or cooking sausages for you at the end of your race. Without their help and without your participation, this fundraiser wouldn't happen.


The events also couldn't take place without the support of many individuals and businesses. Sponsors are acknowledged on the sponsor page  but we would particularly like to thank the following:

  • Simon and Priscilla Cameron, Mike and Elaine Lindsay, Doug McIntyre, the managers of Pukaki Downs and the Department of Conservation for access to land and tracks
  • Meridian Energy for use of the canals
  • Trev and Catherine Wilson and the team at the Meridian Rowing Centre for the venue and food at the prize giving
  • Twizel St Johns and the local police for support during the events
  • Last Mango in Tarras for live music at the Dusky event
  • Tim Mills and Rex Toneycliffe for doing traffic management plans