Ngā Kaihoe o Ratana attend first Waka Ama Nats

By Tema Hemi

Whanganui's newest Waka Ama club 'Ngā Kaihoe o Ratana' are in final preparations for the nationals at Lake Karāpiro next week.

Final paddle before taking to Lake Karāpiro, Ratana are ready! And these paddlers have set their sights high and will be focused on a podium finish. The club was established 24 May 2018 and have a mixture of new and experienced paddlers. They have 3 crews competing, Their names are 'Piki Te Ora' Intermediate girls, 'E whakapono ana ahau' Intermediate boys and 'Whetu Marama' J16 Girls.

The Ngā Kaihoe o Ratana Club chairman Tahi Nepia says, "Firstly the constitutional values of our club is to nurture our kids with knowledge, secondly is to unite and bring our families together, thirdly is physical and mental well being. We have many beliefs but to nurture our kids is our current focus. Our plan is to go to Lake Karāpiro and celebrate this momentous occasion with our kids."

Manaia Meihana from the J16 Girls team has this to say about her first nationals, "It would mean a lot because being our first time as a Ratana club, we get to stand on the big stage." 

Intermediate Boys manager/coach Maria Paul says, "Our goal for our team do well and if they place that's even a bonus for us, but as a club its to go there and represent Ratana, and our maramatanga, and everything that's us as Ratana."

Coach for the Intermediate Girls Karangi Hamahona had to say about getting ready this year's national competition next week, "It's been a mixture of ups and downs, and relationships we've had to build on from the beginning but with just a few more days to go and everyone has gelled together."