Yes. Dando is certainely the best. He knows the current weather conditions and flows and he makes a genuine effort to cater to the scum bag kayaking community that we are. I believe Alpine Adventures is the other company that you are referring to Meng and they tend to service rivers further to the south (on the West Coast of NZ). They are primarily a "Scenic Flight" operation but this is no excuse for the b.s. that you described above. That is ridiculous, an outrage, but I'm guessing that you were dealing with some young buck who thought he was a bad ass until he dropped all your gear and then he couldn't handle it.
James Scott, the guy who I believe is the owner and who is usually the regular kayak pilot is actually quite a stand up guy and is usually very helpful. I would reccomend Dando (Kokatahi Helicopters) if you are anywhere near Hokitika but as you progress south it becomes a longer flight for him and the price competition swings in Alpine Adventures favor.
On a side note, One thing I would mention is that on some of our flights we were somewhat ignorant of the appropiate flows and that it is not the pilots job to know these things (although Dando has a good handle on them because of his close connection to the kayak community). We flew into the Perth, it was WAAAAY too high and we had a slight epic. We flew in with a new pilot who was actually a great pilot but he didn't know anything about kayaking so you've got know what you are getting into. Go to NZ if you can.