NZ teams excel in Tahiti waka ama finals

By Rahia Timutimu

The Master 60 women had the first final of the day and three New Zealand teams were in the race.

Ngā Kaihoe o Ngāti Rēhia did well, they remained in the front pack and kept up with the fastest team to eventually claim gold.

The Junior 19 boys had a tough section as some of the fastest teams in this competition come from the J19 grade.

The Daddy Heli's, from Horouta, kept up with the best teams to just miss out on a medal, placing fourth.

There were two NZ teams and one Māori team from Australia in the next final of the Masters.

Mooloolaba from Australia claimed a bronze medal.

All eyes were on the open teams when they took to the water.

The Open Men's section was the first to take the water, featuring teams from Mareikura and Horouta Waka Hoe.

Horouta are the current national champions. Horouta ending up coming away with a silver medal.

“We came into this race as third fastest,” says paddler and coach Kiwi Campbell, “so we actually needed to come into another gear."

"Tahiti have come out good with a strong club team today so we really competed with them, we were either going to win or them."

He says, "We weren’t going to give up easy so we really put our heart and soul in that race. It was tidy and I think you can be happy if you don’t come up with the win, as long as we did our best.”

The Open men’s section was just as tough. Two NZ teams were also in this race. Kaiarahi Toa from Horouta led and continued to lead right until the end.

“Really good race for Horouta,” says Tupu King, “first one for the boys."

"The boys worked well together and especially the young ones that came up from the juniors, the likes of Tawhai standing next to me."

"These juniors are learning from the seniors, it’s good for the future," Tupu says.

 Tomorrow, it will be a day full of 1000m races, the single paddlers will also be taking to the water in the W1 competition.