#WakaWorlds - Home is where the heart is

By Peata Melbourne

Whakatū Marae Waka Ama Club has had a hard week leading up to their first day of club competition at the IVF Va’a World Sprint Championships.

Last week, the squad lost two whānau members before they’d even hit the water in Tahiti leaving them two paddlers short who made the hard decision to stay in Aotearoa.

Whakatū managed to round up two fill-ins in time to compete, only to have another paddler injure her back after they arrived at the Championships.

Ōtaki Waka Hoe have also had to remain resilient, leaving 3 loved ones at home who are facing turbulent times.

Brain tumours and breast cancer have infiltrated close whānau members of the squad, leaving two sisters with a hard decision to send only one to the Championships this year while the other stays with their mother who has secondary breast cancer.

Paddlers and supporters of both Whakatū and Ōtaki admit while it’s been a testing time, the incentive to do well has only become stronger.

The Whakatū Marae Waka Ama team placing 3rd in their heat today behind the two Tahitian teams, and Ōtaki Waka Hoe placing a solid 1st in their heat for the 1500m sprint race, beating New Caledonia and Tahiti to the line.