Waka ama enthusiasts reminded to be vigilant as boat thefts rise

By Talisa Kupenga

Waka ama enthusiasts are reminding the paddling community to be vigilant as the amount of boat thefts rise during summer and can put a sour spin on your holiday.

For this waka ama paddler boat theft is a topic close to home.

Sharon Hawke, (Paddler) says, "It's quite a devastating feeling that people would choose to pinch waka ama and there is a part of your lifestyle that's been taken away, that's been interfered with. It keeps us fit it keeps us connected with the moana."

Eighteen months ago Hawke's ama was stolen along with two other vessels. The thief was found guilty and fined last year.

Hawke says, "The vessels that were stolen were actually locked up, so you know the thieves go to whatever lengths it takes to pinch them. But the injury is more about the injury to the wairua, it's important that potential thieves change their minds about doing this sort of thing."

Since the beginning of December Police have received 16 reports of stolen boats from across the country.

Barrie Orchard (Paddler) says, "We don't really want to chain our canoes up, like I said we treat them like people but unfortunately that's happening now or were either having to take them home and lock them up so that they don't get stolen."

Police say storing vessels out of sight, using security chains and wheel or tow ball locks can prevent boat thefts.