Your place in the sun.

Welcome to Taitonga SIOC2023

Nelson Orienteering Club invites all orienteers to celebrate high quality summer orienteering in the top of the South Island of New Zealand for the 2023 Taitonga South Island Orienteering Championships, the weekend of 28 & 29 January 2023! We look forward to welcoming fellow orienteers from the South and the North Island of New Zealand, and hopefully also old and new friends from overseas!

Many thanks and acknowledgements are due all around for those volunteers contributing a great deal of time to plan, control and organise these events.

This website is the best place to be for everything you need to know about Taitonga SIOC2023, and any updates / changes.

The same information is available in pdf-format:


The programme consists of three A-grade level orienteering events. The SportIdent (SI) punching system will be used in all events with Si Air+ enabled. Competitors may use their own or hire from the SIOC2023 organisation via the entry process.

MiddleSaturday 28/1Moturoa West / Rabbit IslandForested dunesAmelia HorneMatt Ogden11 AM
SprintSaturday 28/1Nayland College, Stoke, NelsonSchool campusDaniel PenneyCalum Coombs6 PM
Teetotal / West Bay,
St. Arnaud,
Nelson Lakes
Alluvial plain with
moraine features
Riley CroxfordMichael Croxford11 AM

Why orienteering?

“I love orienteering as the whole family can compete (instead of just cheering from the side line)
and it doesn’t matter how your run goes, there’s always a positive to take away from it
(like a fast split when the last one was twenty minutes!).”
Fleur Murray, Nelson Orienteering Club member and volunteer during SIOC2023

“I enjoy being outside on beautiful terrain, but also the combination of the running and using your brain.” Jan Jager, new Nelson Orienteering Club member , responsible for timing results during SIOC2023

“The love the challenge: failing so much, then trying to learn.”
Daniel Penney, secretary NOC and setter of the Sprint for SIOC2023

“I love the satisfaction of finding a control in the forest, and the new friends I’ve made.”
Dale McDonald, Nelson Orienteering Club member and volunteer during SIOC2023

While in the Tasman area…

The Nelson region is famous for its year-round sunshine, national parks, and a large creative community of working artists. Expecting many orienteers from outside the Nelson region, Nelson Orienteering Club members were asked about their recommendations for those of you with some time to spare before, during or after the event.

As can be expected from a highly diverse group of people, the advice was diversified, with some clear winners. While participating in SIOC2023, why not add a few days before or after?

  • Nelson is surrounded by not one, not two, but three National Parks right on its doorstep: Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi. The Cobb region as part of Kahurangi comes recommended, since it is easily accessible for day and overnight trips, and blissfully lacking in crowds…
  • If you like to put a bit of a challenge into your walk or run, why not visit The Grampians in the centre of Nelson? In Amelia Horne’s words: “There’s plenty of tracks to run, in a variety of vegetation too; plus I can never get sick of the view over Tasman Bay!” In fact, just walking up almost any of the hills surrounding Nelson, Stoke and Richmond, and you’ll be alone and surrounded by birdsong within minutes. A bit further afield is walking up Ben Nevis in Mt Richmond Forest Park, climbing to the top of Mt Arthur, or the Mt Robert loop walk in Nelson Lakes.
  • •Top orienteering location for most Nelsonians is Canaan Downs near the top of Takaka Hill, with its fairy-tale invoking ancient beech forests, eerie rock formations, sinkholes and rolling hills. Nelson Lakes, part of SIOC2023, is a close second from an orienteering point of view. NOC president Matt Ogden describes Canaan Downs, incorporated in last year’s National Champs as “pure New Zealand orienteering, the spiritual epicentre for the sport.” NOC is planning an Canaan Downs event later this year, but if you can’t wait that long, the terrain is managed by DOC and o-maps are available.
  • A bit further off the beaten track, and highly recommended, is to walk the sun-drenched sands of tranquil Golden Bay or head inland to Takaka and see the impossibly clear waters of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs at Te Waikoropupū Springs. Walk the recently restored multi-day Abel Tasman track or, for a different perspective, take a sea kayaking tour around the coast and see a seal colony and little blue penguins bobbing in the water.
  • Enjoying the water: swimming in one of the many rivers, especially the Motueka or Takaka River. On a hot day jumping off the end of a wharf at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes. If you are into sea swimming, Rabbit Island, Tahunanui Beach, the Nelson Yacht club and Haulashore Island in the Nelson Harbour come recommended. And who doesn’t love the golden beaches of Kaiteriteri?
  • Taste your way around the region by bicycle on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail or get your daily dose of adrenaline with a visit to one of the region’s world-class mountain bike parks, with for example a stunner of a ride in Kaiteriteri.
  • With one of the largest numbers of working artists and galleries in New Zealand, you’ll find a wide range of craftspeople living in the region. Visit their studios, explore the famous Nelson Saturday morning craft market, taste the delicious locally made artisan products and find something extraordinary to take home with you.
  • Overall, Simon and Garfunkel might have the best lyrics to describe our amazing outdoor playground: “Slow down, you move too fast, gotta make the morning last just, kicking down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feeling groovy…” In Michael Croxford’s words, sharing the same sentiment: “Slow down. Take your time. Enjoy Te Tau Ihu, the top of the South Island.

For more information, and the latest information about tracks damaged by the August 2022 storm, please visit one of the local visitor information centres or the Department of Conservation (DOC) Nelson page.

Local food and drinks…

Interestingly, volunteers from NOC also have a huge range of recommended places to eat or drink for our visitors – a reflection on the variety of really good places to relax in the Tasman area, home of locally grown produce, freshly caught seafood and many wineries.
One overriding conclusion: in the Tasman area, we take our coffee (with or without an edible treat on the side) very seriously!

In Nelson and surrounding areas:

  • The Beach Café at Tahunanui Beach, “for its location and delectable treats” according to Dale McDonald;
  • Tozzetti Café and Bakery where, according to Michael Croxford “…There’s something about the food cabinet where the portions come out larger than they look.” He adds: “For coffee, it’s hands down Sublime Coffee, although Tasman Store and Kush are close behind”;
  • Le Posh Patisserie, recommended by Amelia Horne;
  • Penguino Ice Cream Café, unique for Nelson, started by Jan Jager’s sister and her partner back in 1995;
  • Matt Ogden describes The Baker’s Coffee Shop as having “amazing coffee, unreal pastries”;
  • Freehouse in Nelson central is the go-to spot for craft beer lovers, according to Daniel Penney;
  • Eddyline Brewery & Pizzeria, Richmond, recommended by Richard Dunn;
  • According to Jane Orbell, when in need of a caffeine fix, visit Coffee Society, next to Caltex Richmond, “for the best coffee in Richmond”.

On your way to Nelson Lakes and in need of sustenance? Jane Lambert strongly recommends the The Bakery in Wakefield for “the best pies and slices!”

Slightly further away, on the way to Canaan Downs and Golden Bay, there are additional places to visit according to the locals:

  • “Mapua wharf is another awesome spot to go to if you’re looking for a lunch or dinner spot. Heaps of food/drink places choose from and a really nice environment” according to Daniel Penney;
  • Tasman General Store is mentioned several times by Nelson orienteering club members, for great coffee, real fruit ice creams and yummy pies;
  • Annemarie Hogenbirk’s favourite location since her very first visit to New Zealand in 1993 has been The Jester House, unfortunately currently only open on Fridays;
  • On another note, anybody interested in pizza, please hit up Riley Croxford,  the man to talk to about pizza recommendations in the Nelson / Tasman area, including Dominos in Motueka;
  • Diana Worthy strongly recommends Riwaka’s Ginger Dynamite (an understated coffee shop with amazing date scones and homemade pies, which sell out every day) and Real Fruit Ice creams right next door.