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Captain of the highly successful NZ Adventure Racing team.


Nathan Fa'avae has been one of the best all round adventure racers in the world and Captain of the Balance Vector - the highly successful New Zealand Adventure Racing Team.


Nathan is an expert navigator with a broad range of skills and experience in the outdoors. As a professional outdoor instructor, Nathan is no stranger to sleeping on the ground, having wet feet, being attacked by mosquitoes and long days in the mountains with a heavy pack on!

The sport of adventure racing tests athletes to extreme limits and the training required to race at the elite level is phenomenal. His career has been Outdoor Education and Adventure Tourism, the highlights being an Outward Bound Instructor and founder of an award winning sea kayaking company in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Current work

Nathan Fa'avae captains the New Zealand Adventure Racing Team, which won the World Championships in 2005 and 2012. Adventure Racing is a 4-person co-ed team where teams race on courses for up to 7-days, typically covering 500-700km. The core sports are kayaking, mountain biking and running. He has raced in 28-countries and in 2014 will be racing in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Ecuador.

Nathan is a qualified instructor in white water kayaking, sea kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, snow boarding, mountain safety and navigation.

In 2020, Amazon released the World's Toughest Race series, which has more than 330 athletes coming together to race over 417 miles, non-stop for 11 days. As team captain, Nathan led the winning team New Zealand crew.

In the 2022 New Year Honours, Nathan was recognised for his services to adventure racing, outdoor education and the Pacific community and becomes an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).


His entrepreneurial interests include being Director of 5-companies. In his community he is the Patron of the Whenua Iti Outdoor Pursuits Centre and Trustee of Network Tasman.

His sporting career has spanned more than 20-years, including podium finishes in the Coast to Coast, qualifying for the 1996 Olympic Games in Mountain Biking and arguably the highest achieving Adventure Racer in the sport.

Perhaps his biggest challenge has been dealing with a heart condition which threatened to end his sporting career a number of times.


An inspirational speaker and great communicator, Nathan's philosophy on life is to achieve happiness by doing the things that bring you joy. His presentations, which draw parallels between sport and business, cover how to know your capabilities and how to make a plan and stick to it. Nathan highlights that great things can be achieved if one can be open to possibility.

Nathan lives on Kina Beach in Tasman with his wife and three children. If he's not answering his phone, you'll find him at his local golf course.

... another telling point was that he received a standing ovation, something that I have not witnessed at any of the previous events that I have attended. ... There was a positive buzz following the function and I would have no hesitation in inviting him back to address a similar event in the future. Royal New Zealand Air Force

A great session at our Nationals Awards dinner, I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did everyone else I have spoken to. We all could all have listened to Nathan for hours! He has such a good balance of insight, information and humour and he is natural with it, which I really appreciated. He definitely inspired me to get off my butt more so that's a result. A really enjoyable session with an super accomplished athlete who spoke brilliantly and naturally in such an entertaining way. Highly recommended.

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