Tupuria King (Ngāpuhi) knows he must 'train like a king' to secure his 13th national waka ama title and take out a world title, even though there are uncertainties ahead.
"Soon, in about a month's time, we've got our waka ama national sprint champs at Karāpiro, so that's the main goal at the moment.
"I'm champion in that, so just trying to back up those wins but (I'm) getting old I think," King told Te Ao Toa.
"I'm preparing as if it's going to go ahead. Got some young bucks that are really looking pretty promising this next nationals, so I've got to stay fit."
Next year's World Championships will be held in London and King says it is "pretty exciting".
"That's an awesome opportunity. I've never personally travelled to Europe, I've travelled to all (these) other places - Tahiti, Brazil, all these amazing places.
"That's going to be happening in August and that's definitely a big goal," he said.
"We're praying that things really open up soon and international travel can happen again."