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About Katoa

Katoa in Te Reo (Māori language) means entirely, everything, and everyone. It was the meaning of the word Katoa that led us on our own journey to become Katoa Lake Rotorua. A place where you can go to uncover all of Lake Rotorua’s history, culture, and thrills on Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island.  


Embrace a deeper understanding of Māori culture alongside our local guides, and discover how this culture is steeped within all of us in New Zealand. Learn about the famous love story between Hinemoa and Tutanekai on Lake Rotorua as well as the wars that have scarred Mokoia Island.


Our Team | Our Origins | Our Boats | KaititakiReviews | Location | Image Gallery

Our Team

Willow (Guard Dog)

Willow is the first face that will greet you here at Katoa. She loves long walks on the lakefront and left overs from lunch. When asked what her favorite lake conditions are to go Jet Boating, she said 'ROUGH'

Harriet Bailey (The Boss)

Harriet is the "Big Boss" around here. She is in charge of all things Katoa and a Jet Boat Driver in the making. She keeps all the boys in check, and ensures everything runs smoothly. If you couldn't tell she is English from her accent, you only need to see how many cups of tea she drinks per day. 

Will Scadden (2IC)

Will is the company’s Head Driver and one of the Managing Directors. He is responsible for all driver training, safety, and maintenance of the boats and equipment. If you are out on a trip with Will, don't feel like you have to laugh at his jokes. They never get any better and it only encourages him.

Kelvin Harford (Kev)

Kelvin is one of our drivers here at Katoa. With many hours in Jet Boating under his belt, a trip with Kelvin is one to not be missed. Make sure you opt for a spray jacket though as the only thing that stays dry on his boat is his sense of humor. 

Rachel Wood (Sales Superstar)

Rachel is our Sales Superstar and is in charge of keeping our trips running smoothly throughout the day. She is your point of call for check-ins and will help you get kitted out ready for your Jet Boat blast on Lake Rotorua.

Kurt Matthews (The Contractor)

Kurt is one of our part-time Drivers. He is jack of all trades, master of none. When he is not here thrilling our customers, he is brewing award winning beer at a local brewery or travelling with his photography business. Having a trip with Kurt is always a Blast.

Read Lougher (Grandad)

Read is our "Senior" driver at Katoa. He comes in when we are busy to take our customers for a Spin. He is also a Pilot so look out for his pre-flight safety briefing. He has forgotten more about this area than most of us have learned so feel free to ask him as many questions as you like.

Exploring Lake Rotorua

History. Adrenaline. Native wildlife. Untouched beauty. All encompases Katoa Lake Rotorua and is waiting for you to discover on Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island. Whether it’s the thrill of jet boating, learning about Mokoia Island’s ancient history, or cruising through the crater lake; you’ll be amazed and captivated by the history, wildlife, and thrills  on and off the water.

Our Origins

In the beginning, we were known as Kawarau Jet, born from Kawarau Jet in Queenstown, the world’s first commercial jet boat operation. With such a successful history, it was decided to bring the same experience to the North Island’s cultural and adventure capital, Rotorua. As time went on, business owner and operators Ross and Fiona Kelly saw that there was so much more potential than only the excitement and adrenaline of jet boating and chose to build on the jetboating to become Katoa (entirely) Lake Rotorua.

Our Boats

With a total carrying capacity of 50 people, Katoa Lake Rotorua is the perfect choice for your group or team building exercise. For the last five years Katoa Lake Rotorua has also been using high octane biofuel containing 10% bioethanol. All our boats use the tried and trusted Hamilton 212 jet units and adhere to the highest safety and maintenance standards.


Purpose built Jet Boat made by Mackraft Marine specifically for the conditions on Lake Rotorua. The boat runs a 350 Mercruiser V8 Chev Motor with a Hamilton 212 Jet Unit and is surveyed for up to 11 people.


This is the newest boat in the fleet with its sleek design turning heads whenever it hits the water. It is running an experimental motor based on an XR6 Turbo Engine. Once the Research and Development is complete it will have twin engines, making it one of the fastest commercial jet boats in the country. This boat is surveyed for up to 18 people. It too was designed and built specifically for use on Lake Rotorua.



This is the "Big Boy" of the fleet and runs two Kodiak Marine Chev 350 V8's coupled by twin Hamilton 212 Jet Units. This is built by Mackraft Marine and was the very first "Twin" Engine Commercial Jet Boat to be developed. It is surveyed for up to 28 people and has a top speed of 85km per hour.


All boats are equipped with extensive safety equipment, radios and onboard safety mechanisms to ensure your protection against all possible scenarios.


All customers are supplied with spray jackets to keep you warm and dry and lifejackets for your safety. You MUST wear a lifejacket. Spray jackets are optional but highly recommended, especially in the winter months.