Gaibreill Wainohu from Horouta Waka Hoe in Tūranga Nui-a-Kiwa has been nominated as a finalist in the Māori Junior Sportswoman of the Year category at The Māori Sports Awards.
“Being out on the water just gives me a sense of happiness I guess, and freedom- there's nothing like it, I can't explain the feeling,” she says.
A world-class paddler, Wainohu is the world junior 16 women's 500m V1 (individual) champion.
“What drives me is that I know my family and myself have high expectations and I just want to be able to show them that I can feel that but it also just comes with a love of the sport.”
Wainhou took home the most medals of all paddlers at the recent IVF Va'a World Sprint Championship in Tahiti, collecting seven golds and two silvers.
“For me this means that all the training and hard work that I've put into not only wakas but with rugby as well has been recognised,” says Wainohu.
Day in, day out Wainohu follows a full-time regime.
“A normal week looks like 5.30am trainings, coming home, getting ready for school, going to school, sometimes we have training at school for rugby, then after school get home, help around the house with mum, then training again, then get home from that training and homework, then bed and repeat.”
The awards ceremony takes place tomorrow at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, Auckland.