High hopes for Tairawhiti

Horouta and Mareikura sending big contingents

Horouta and Mareikura sending big contingents

CHAMPION TEAM: Horouta Waka Hoe Club’s Kaiarahi Toa premier women’s crew drive towards the finish at last year’s waka ama sprint nationals on Lake Karapiro. Kaiarahi Toa are expected to be at or near the front again this year. Picture by Garrick Cameron
Toby Price of Australia rides his KTM motorbike during stage four of the Dakar Rally between Arequipa and Moquegua, Peru, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
TALENTED: Gisborne’s Northern Districts under-15 representatives (from left) Kayley Knight, Mia Reeves and Grace Levy. Picture supplied

TAIRAWHITI paddlers will be well to the fore when the 30th annual national waka ama sprint championships are held on Lake Karapiro, Waikato, next week.

Horouta Waka Hoe Club has 70 event entries from 32 teams — over 190 paddlers in all — and will be out to retain the points trophy. They have won it seven of the eight times it has been contested.

Mareikura — the country’s first waka ama club, set up by Waka Ama NZ Hall of Fame inaugural member Matahi Brightwell — has 44 event entries.

New club YMP Waka Ama has 16 event entries, Adventure Wairoa has five and Uawa Tiaki Tai-Hinekura Waka Ama has two.

Nationally, waka ama continues to grow in popularity. Record numbers signed up to compete at Te Wananga o Aotearoa National Waka Ama Sprint Championships.

The first waka ama sprint nationals were held in 1990, when 43 teams from 17 clubs took part.

This year a total of 3577 paddlers from 61 clubs will compete in 10 age divisions in an event that runs from Monday to Saturday.

Waka Ama New Zealand chief executive Lara Collins said the number of competitors at the national sprint championships had grown by nearly 40 percent in five years.

“In 2014 we had 2562 competitors,” she said.

“This year we have a record 3577 paddlers registered . . . we’ve grown 39.6 percent in five years.

“With a female majority of competitors, and five-time national champion Tupuria King going head to head with one of Tahiti’s best, Manutea Million, this year will be our biggest event yet!”

“We’ve got crews coming from as far north as Kaitaia and as far south as Queenstown.”

Huge crowds would be lakeside watching the regatta, with around 10,000 spectators expected over the week, she said.

“Waka ama is a sport like no other, with its inclusive nature bringing together paddlers of all ages and ethnicities,” she said.

“This year we have majority female competitors in six of 10 age divisions . . . 1370 paddlers are under 13, and 34 paddlers are over 70.

“Our youngest paddler competing this week is five and our oldest will turn 82 this year.

“Waka ama may be the only sport where grandmothers, grandfathers, mums, dads and their kids can come together to race competitively.

“That’s what makes it so special and unique. It’s very competitive but the focus is on fun and whanau (family), too.”

Waka ama paddlers race over sprint distances that include 250 metres, 500m and 1500m, and some contest marathon races of 30 to 75 kilometres.

The ama (outrigger), on the left-hand side balances the waka or canoe, helping it to slice through the water with every stroke.

At the sprint championships, clubs will compete for national honours in single, six and 12-paddler teams over distances of 250m, 500m, 1000m and 1500m.

Teams competing in the six-paddler 1000m and 1500m races have to navigate their way through hairpin turns at the 250m mark.

Male and female crews will compete for national honours in the Midget (under 10), Intermediate (11-13), Junior U16, Junior U19, Open, Master (40), Senior Master (50), Golden Master (60) and Master 70 age divisions.

The Winners of the 2018 Ace Cuthers Memorial Club Spirit Trophy — Te Rau Oranga o Ngati Kahungunu Waka Ama Club — will travel back to Karapiro with the trophy, which will again be awarded by the volunteers and officials to a club that epitomises the values of waka ama: Manaakitanga, Whanaungatanga, Hauora , Tu Tangata, and the memory of Ace Cuthers himself.

Tairawhiti paddlers feature among other notable 2018 winners, who include:

• Premier men’s W1 champion Tupuria King (fifth year in a row).

• Premier women’s W1 champion Akayshia Williams (winner for the second year in a row), competing out of Mareikura.

• Master 70 men’s champion Noel Clark.

• Master 70 women’s champion Sherry Carne.

• Premier men’s 500m W6 winners Vaka Manu Black, Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club (sixth year in a row).

• Premier women’s 500m W6 winners Kaiarahi Toa, Horouta Waka Hoe (fourth year in a row).

• Premier men’s 1500m W6 winners Woolley Kumara, Horouta Waka Hoe.

• Premier women’s 1500m W6 winners Kaiarahi Toa, Horouta Waka Hoe (fifth year in a row).

• Premier men’s W1 250m winner Jamille Ruka, Akarana.

• Premier women’s W1 250m winner Marama Elkington, TOA Waka Ama Club.

Most, if not all, of these past winners will be back at Karapiro for another crack next week.

TAIRAWHITI paddlers will be well to the fore when the 30th annual national waka ama sprint championships are held on Lake Karapiro, Waikato, next week.

Horouta Waka Hoe Club has 70 event entries from 32 teams — over 190 paddlers in all — and will be out to retain the points trophy. They have won it seven of the eight times it has been contested.

Mareikura — the country’s first waka ama club, set up by Waka Ama NZ Hall of Fame inaugural member Matahi Brightwell — has 44 event entries.

New club YMP Waka Ama has 16 event entries, Adventure Wairoa has five and Uawa Tiaki Tai-Hinekura Waka Ama has two.

Nationally, waka ama continues to grow in popularity. Record numbers signed up to compete at Te Wananga o Aotearoa National Waka Ama Sprint Championships.

The first waka ama sprint nationals were held in 1990, when 43 teams from 17 clubs took part.

This year a total of 3577 paddlers from 61 clubs will compete in 10 age divisions in an event that runs from Monday to Saturday.

Waka Ama New Zealand chief executive Lara Collins said the number of competitors at the national sprint championships had grown by nearly 40 percent in five years.

“In 2014 we had 2562 competitors,” she said.

“This year we have a record 3577 paddlers registered . . . we’ve grown 39.6 percent in five years.

“With a female majority of competitors, and five-time national champion Tupuria King going head to head with one of Tahiti’s best, Manutea Million, this year will be our biggest event yet!”

“We’ve got crews coming from as far north as Kaitaia and as far south as Queenstown.”

Huge crowds would be lakeside watching the regatta, with around 10,000 spectators expected over the week, she said.

“Waka ama is a sport like no other, with its inclusive nature bringing together paddlers of all ages and ethnicities,” she said.

“This year we have majority female competitors in six of 10 age divisions . . . 1370 paddlers are under 13, and 34 paddlers are over 70.

“Our youngest paddler competing this week is five and our oldest will turn 82 this year.

“Waka ama may be the only sport where grandmothers, grandfathers, mums, dads and their kids can come together to race competitively.

“That’s what makes it so special and unique. It’s very competitive but the focus is on fun and whanau (family), too.”

Waka ama paddlers race over sprint distances that include 250 metres, 500m and 1500m, and some contest marathon races of 30 to 75 kilometres.

The ama (outrigger), on the left-hand side balances the waka or canoe, helping it to slice through the water with every stroke.

At the sprint championships, clubs will compete for national honours in single, six and 12-paddler teams over distances of 250m, 500m, 1000m and 1500m.

Teams competing in the six-paddler 1000m and 1500m races have to navigate their way through hairpin turns at the 250m mark.

Male and female crews will compete for national honours in the Midget (under 10), Intermediate (11-13), Junior U16, Junior U19, Open, Master (40), Senior Master (50), Golden Master (60) and Master 70 age divisions.

The Winners of the 2018 Ace Cuthers Memorial Club Spirit Trophy — Te Rau Oranga o Ngati Kahungunu Waka Ama Club — will travel back to Karapiro with the trophy, which will again be awarded by the volunteers and officials to a club that epitomises the values of waka ama: Manaakitanga, Whanaungatanga, Hauora , Tu Tangata, and the memory of Ace Cuthers himself.

Tairawhiti paddlers feature among other notable 2018 winners, who include:

• Premier men’s W1 champion Tupuria King (fifth year in a row).

• Premier women’s W1 champion Akayshia Williams (winner for the second year in a row), competing out of Mareikura.

• Master 70 men’s champion Noel Clark.

• Master 70 women’s champion Sherry Carne.

• Premier men’s 500m W6 winners Vaka Manu Black, Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club (sixth year in a row).

• Premier women’s 500m W6 winners Kaiarahi Toa, Horouta Waka Hoe (fourth year in a row).

• Premier men’s 1500m W6 winners Woolley Kumara, Horouta Waka Hoe.

• Premier women’s 1500m W6 winners Kaiarahi Toa, Horouta Waka Hoe (fifth year in a row).

• Premier men’s W1 250m winner Jamille Ruka, Akarana.

• Premier women’s W1 250m winner Marama Elkington, TOA Waka Ama Club.

Most, if not all, of these past winners will be back at Karapiro for another crack next week.

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