Tiare Māori is a well-known team name in the Waka Ama community, the U16 girls are the current Nationals champions in the 500m W6 section. A loss to Horouta at the IVF World Championships last year has made them train even harder towards the Nationals.
The side train on the water six times a week, morning and night.
“I guess because it's some of the girls last year we really want to do really well,” says paddler Jae Fraser, “and just make everyone proud, make the club proud, coaches and managers.”
Their hard work has paid off.
Last year, they won the W6 U16 girls national title, beating all the best paddlers in that section across the country.
“As a team, all of us girls have only been together since the start of last year,” says Fraser, “so at the start of the year it was pretty successful you know, 500m gold at Nationals for 6-man and second for 12-man.
However that result wasn’t the same at the World Waka Ama Championships last year in Tahiti, they lost to Horouta in the final, in the end, they placed third.
“We could have done better but we got second in our 12-man and third for 6-man,” says Fraser.
This will be the last time all these girls will be in the same age group, so they want to go out with style.