Ngā Tauira Māori to compete in Queen Liliuokalani Memorial Canoe Race in Hawai'i

A team of young Māori students from the University of Auckland Ngā Tauira Māori are training hard for one of the world's longest and most challenging outrigger canoe races to take place in Hawai'i next month.

Tamoko Ormsby says, “The most important skill is focus, that's it. It's training hard week in week out, and hopefully through that the results will come.”

These Māori students of the University of Auckland are preparing for the Queen Liliuokalani Memorial Canoe Race.

Waimirirangi Koopu-Stone says, “We're not too excited yet because we have a lot of hard work to do before we leave, but hopefully as we get closer to the time the excitement will build.”

The team won the university's Great Waka Ama Race in March, which consisted on paddling from Takapuna Beach to Rangitoto Island, running to the top of the Island and back, then paddling back to Takapuna, earning an all-expenses paid trip to Hawai'i.

Koopu-Stone says, “Most of us had paddled before this race but no one had competed in one with a run involved, so that was very difficult.”

One of the members admits it was a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck.

“We were in third place, but then the teams in front were flipped by the waves, so we were quite lucky,” says Noenoe Barclay-Kerr.

The team departs next Thursday 3 September with their 29km race kicking off that Saturday.