Whānau fill shores of Waitangi for Waka Ama champs

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo / Facebook

Waka Ama whānau filled the shores of Waitangi for the final day of racing at the 2022 Waka Ama Long Distance National Champs in Te Tai Tokerau on Saturday.

Paddlers took to the waters of Pēwhairangi across three races in various divisions and distances, with a slight pick-up in the wind providing challenging waters for the paddlers but good competition, Waka Ama NZ said in a statement.

"It was great to see the range of ages taking part in the event, from J16 to Master 70, showcasing the diversity of our sport."

In an exciting second and final day of racing, organisers said rangatahi showcased some "awesome" paddling throughout the J16 division in their W1 races.

Tamati Heta from Cook Islands Outriggers Association (Auckland) was crowned the J16 Men W1 champion in both the ruddered and rudderless races.

In the J16 Women W1 division, Poppy Barnes from Haeata Ocean Sports (Hawke's Bay) won the ruddered race and Chelsea Reti from Ngā Hoe Horo Outrigger Canoe Club (Pawarenga) won the rudderless race.

Photo / Supplied

The senior W6 races throughout the day raised the excitement levels even more, organisers said.

In the Open Women's race, the MJs from Haeata took line honours, Pineula Mixed from Akarana in the Open Mixed, and HOT (Herberts on Tour) White from Ngā Hoe Horo in the Open Men's division in an exciting battle with Team Pineula.

Organisers said the waka hourua, Hinemoana, treated spectators to an up-close watching experience on the race course, following the paddlers as they battled it out.

“It has been another great day of racing here in Waitangi to finish up an epic two days. It has been great to have our waka ama whānau together again and our paddlers out on the water competing here in Te Tai Tokerau," said Waka Ama NZ Chief Executive, Lara Collins.

"A huge mihi to our hau kāinga, Waitangi whānau and Paihia who hosted our paddlers from far and wide," Waka Ama NZ said.

The National Waka Hourua Festival, Kāwhia Moana will be held at Maketu Marae from 15 to 23 October 2022.