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Reel Recovery New Zealand

2014 Group

The pioneers: The Class of 2014

Reel Recovery is a national not for profit organisation that conducts free fly fishing retreats for men recovering from all forms of cancer. Retreats are offered at no cost to the participants and are led by expert fly-fishing instructors.

A maximum of ten men are invited to participate, to ensure the quality of the instruction and to create a powerful small-group dynamic.


Men suffering from cancer do not have the same range of support programmes available as women and are generally unskilled at tapping into the support that is available. And men being men are often reluctant to ask.

The programme provides men with all forms of cancer a unique opportunity to share their stories, learn a new skill, form lasting friendships and gain renewed hope as they confront the challenges of cancer.

Watch the video

Click on the picture below for the video and read the article from the Waikato Times.

Video of Reel Recovery

Craig Caldwell, national coordiantor of Reel Recovery NZ


Reel Recovery was founded in the USA in 2003 by a group of avid fly-fishers, inspired by their fishing buddy’s ongoing battle with brain cancer. Witnessing first-hand the beneficial impact fly-fishing provided their friend; they created Reel Recovery to provide the same opportunity for other men battling the disease.

Reel Recovery is now established in New Zealand.



17 - 19 Feb 2017

Contact for applications

Craig Caldwell

183 Newman Road

RD 3

Te Awamutu

Contact details

Ph +64 07 872 2686
Mobile 027 279 6766

Email: craig@reelrecovery.org.nz

Facebook: Reel Recovery NZ


The venue is Castle Rock, approximately 20kms south of Te Awamutu. This ideal location is very near to the Puniu River. The Puniu holds many rainbow trout and the local landowners have made access easy for retreat participants.

The programme

A maximum of ten men participate in the three day retreat which blends outdoor activity with comradeship with other men who are recovering from cancer.

Reel Recovery



At the retreat you will experience:

  • a powerful small-group dynamic of men experiencing the challenge of recovering from cancer
  • a unique environment conducive to relaxed, open interactions
  • one-on-one fly fishing instruction
  • a practical guide to reading a river
  • rod and reel setup
  • knots
  • basic fly tying.
Testimonials from the NZ programme

One participant said “One of the best parts of being at a Reel Recovery retreat is it reminds you of how fun and healing it is to just be one of the guys again—instead of being a guy with cancer.

As  Jeff Entringer eloquently wrote in his poem, “That Moment in Time,”
In our brief existence that is called life
It is not what happened yesterday that is important,
And we must remember that tomorrow may never come.
Today is the only day in which we can make a difference.

About your hosts

Craig, Brain, Colin and Doug are four passionate fly-fishermen dedicated to running Reel Retreat New Zealand. Fishing buddies and instructors are handpicked from some of New Zealand’s best.

Sponsors The Reel Recovery programme could not happen without the support of a number of sponsors who have donated time and effort into the programme. In particular Manic Tackle and Rene Vaz who have donated the rods, reels and vests amongst other items to the progamme worth over $7,000.
Indicative costs

There is no cost to particpants though particpants will need to find their own way to the venue.

Each participant will be fully kitted out. This includes waders, boots, fishing vest, rod, reel, lines and flies.

Future retreats

Please enquire about future retreats.

This big

It was this big....really


Setting Up

On the river


Fly Tying




Manic Tackle

Manic Tackle is the principal sponsor providing over $7,000 worth of equipment.

Thanks to

Four Winds Foundation

Trout Heaven


Ova achievers


Waipa Electrical Services

Fly Tackle NZ

Fly Tackle NZ


NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers


Lions Club Cambridge




Hamilton Anglers Club
P & S Chan 


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