‘Mud mixed with crap’ an issue at Anzac Park boat ramp

Thirty young people had to train in waka ama in such conditions

Thirty young people had to train in waka ama in such conditions

This crew of waka ama paddlers were reluctant to put their brand new Eastland Community Trust and Lion Foundation-funded waka into the water through smelly, knee-deep mud at the Anzac Park boat ramp at low tide yesterday afternoon. Mareikura Waka Ama Club says paddlers training for the world sprint championships in Tahiti next year were having to put up with the “stinking mud mixed with crap” at the ramp. The club is calling for the ramp to be scraped regularly and a nearby stormwater outlet removed.

Pictured with their waka are (from left) Mangahikupa Tawhiwhirangi, Boaza Raeina, Ngarangi Pomana, Mangahikuika Tawhiwhirangi (front) and Hunter Hewson. Picture by Liam Clayton

WORLD championship-winning Mareikura Waka Ama Club would like pristine blue Gisborne rivers to train on. But club secretary Maraea Pomana has told Gisborne District Council’s community development and services committee that club members have been putting up with knee-deep “mud mixed with crap” at the Anzac Park boat ramp.

As members came out of the river at low tide they found themselves having to wade through discoloured and stinking mud, she said. The boat ramp was left covered in stinking mud topped with a”greeny-yellow coat”. There was an odour which lasted “maybe five days” while the mud on the bank was “gross’’.

Ms Pomana said 30 young people were preparing for the world waka ama sprint championships in Tahiti next year and had no choice but to train in such conditions. The club would like to have the boat ramp scraped regularly, she said. Concern was also expressed for the health of club members.

There had been seven releases of raw sewage from stormwater outlets into the city’s rivers, which the club felt was endangering paddlers’ health. She asked if the stormwater outlet opposite the Poverty Bay Rowing Club could be removed.

Ms Pomana, a youth worker, said there was little in the way of activities for young people. Sport was important in the district and she was concerned about maintaining participation rates in water sports. Waka ama was a cheap and acessible sport and the district was “world champions” in it.

Bill Burdett said the council had made a commitment when the rowing clubrooms were established that river access would be maintained.

“Isn’t that happening?”

GDC’s director of liveable communities Andrew White said he would look into the matter.

WORLD championship-winning Mareikura Waka Ama Club would like pristine blue Gisborne rivers to train on. But club secretary Maraea Pomana has told Gisborne District Council’s community development and services committee that club members have been putting up with knee-deep “mud mixed with crap” at the Anzac Park boat ramp.

As members came out of the river at low tide they found themselves having to wade through discoloured and stinking mud, she said. The boat ramp was left covered in stinking mud topped with a”greeny-yellow coat”. There was an odour which lasted “maybe five days” while the mud on the bank was “gross’’.

Ms Pomana said 30 young people were preparing for the world waka ama sprint championships in Tahiti next year and had no choice but to train in such conditions. The club would like to have the boat ramp scraped regularly, she said. Concern was also expressed for the health of club members.

There had been seven releases of raw sewage from stormwater outlets into the city’s rivers, which the club felt was endangering paddlers’ health. She asked if the stormwater outlet opposite the Poverty Bay Rowing Club could be removed.

Ms Pomana, a youth worker, said there was little in the way of activities for young people. Sport was important in the district and she was concerned about maintaining participation rates in water sports. Waka ama was a cheap and acessible sport and the district was “world champions” in it.

Bill Burdett said the council had made a commitment when the rowing clubrooms were established that river access would be maintained.

“Isn’t that happening?”

GDC’s director of liveable communities Andrew White said he would look into the matter.

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Tommy Wilkie - 2 months ago
When the Pakeha have their triathalon they get the fire brigade to hose down the mud from the ramps. Why is this not done for the waka ama?

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