Whakatāne High School celebrates their golden girl

By Taroi Black

Whakatāne High School paid homage to one of their former students, double Olympic champion Lisa Carrington. Students of the school's Māori Department were in awe of her achievement this morning, and set aside time to perform a special song for her.

Today, the current national kapa haka finalists celebrated the success of one of their own in Rio. 

Her former teacher Mr Te Kapua Riini told Te Kāea, “This is awesome for her. When she was a former student, she was under our Māori Department. The purpose of our Māori department is to help our students to achieve.”

Lisa Carrington's success has inspired many current students at Whakatāne High School. A photo taken in 2005 of Carrington and Rio Olympian Jamie Lovett who showed promising signs of developing into future champs, sits at the school. 

“Since she was a Year 9 student, she had made a huge impact in canoeing until her last year at school. Back then, there were so many schools involved. We're hoping to have canoeing back here again.”

Four years ago, the 27-year old Olympian was paraded here in the hub of Whakatāne. A young athlete who would become an icon on the water and break records, became the first woman in the world to take back-to-back golds on the water at the Olympics.

“I hope that Lisa continues to reach her goals in life. She has a big job ahead but we know she can do it.”