A New Zealand kayaker made the semi-finals of the men's slalom at the Olympics despite being given a two-second penalty by his mother who is a judge at the games.

Mike Dawson touched gate five when going down the 18-gate Olympic course on Sunday, and his mother, Kay Dawson, did not hesitate to penalise her son. It was one of two two-second penalties Dawson received, but he still advanced to Wednesday's semi-finals.

Dawson joked that he was tempted to get his coach to put in a protest "about that particular judge".

It would have made dinner time at the Dawsons' even more awkward. His coach is father Les.

"That would've had all sorts of ramifications after the Olympics and besides, I like mum's cooking too much!" Dawson said.

Dawson added that Kay's penalty "definitely dispels any hint of bias and I wouldn't have it any other way".

"Fortunately it was definitely a genuine touch and, of course, she called it right, as I'd expect her to," he said, "though I'll be trying my hardest to keep mum unoccupied in my semi-final run."

Dawson qualified eighth of the 15 kayakers who made the semi-finals. The 25-year-old Dawson is at his first Olympics, while his mother is at her second after officiating at the 2008 Beijing Games.