Te Reo champion claims third national surfing title

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Raniera Proctor has been crowned the NZ Longboard open men's champion at the 2021 Nationals held in Piha, claiming his third title in 12 years.

A staunch advocate for Te Reo and Tikanga, Proctor says surfing is a pathway for Māori to stay healthy and connected to Atua Māori.

“Māori have been surfing for a long time, with our ancestors being the real experts at it. We’re an ocean people, so all I do is celebrate our culture within this sport. And there’s the goal of sharing this gift with my children, being with Tāwhirimātea and Tangaroa. This sport is therapeutic for Māori so that’s also what I’m about, is promoting the values and great benefits that can be reaped by Māori.”

It's been nine years since he last took out the competition, and he's back on top.

“In the past few years I’ve been feeling keen. The body has aged into the dad-bod but the skills are still there, so that’s all I’m doing is going back to compete and test my skills against the skills of others, and much to my surprise I won.”

Healing pathways

Not only a champion surfer, the Kōhanga Reo National Trust member is a champion for Te Reo and Tikanga who sees surfing as a natural avenue for Māori to maintain balance.

“My main goal is to encourage Maori to get into the sea, through surfing, through Waka Ama, and pursue the lineage of our ancestors, to seek health in this dynamic world. We’ve made it out of Covid-19 into the world of light, this is perhaps a remedy for us going forward, the many pursuits in the ocean and surfing is one of those healing pathways for us.”

A humble family-man, he's keeping that which matters most at the forefront of his thoughts and actions.

“I’d like to acknowledge my children, who have been at home sad [missing their Dad], now I have time to get back to being a father, in this nice Tūranga summer. Te Tairāwhiti made me, and I’ve come back with the national title to share it with everyone.”

Gisborne Boardriders took the Best Club at the surfing nationals, with eight titles.