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Commentators Confirmed for Waka Ama 2006

Publicity Release
For Immediate Release

Commentators Confirmed for Waka Ama 2006

Waka ama expert Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and sports commentator Steve Harris join Maori Television’s Niwa Milroy to present televised highlights of the 2006 WAKA AMA SPRINT NATIONALS next week.

Hosted by Nga Kaihoe o Aotearoa (New Zealand Maori Polynesian Canoe Sporting Federation), the National Waka Ama Club Sprint Championships will attract more than 1,200 competitors to picturesque Lake Karapiro in the Waikato from Monday January 16 to 21.

Maori Television will broadcast highlights every night from Wednesday January 18 to Friday January 20 between 8.00 PM and 8.30 PM. Coverage of the final days’ racing will screen on Saturday January 21 from 4.00 PM to 6.00 PM.

A lecturer at Waikato University, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr (Tainui) is a recognised authority on waka ama and an active member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Steve Harris (Ngapuhi) has been the commentator at the national and secondary school championships since 2003 as well as most major waka ama events in New Zealand. The club captain of the Waitakere Outrigger Canoe Club, Harris also contributes articles to the website – www.wakaama.co.nz – as well as other print media publications.

Rongomaianiwaniwa Milroy (Tuhoe, Te Arawa) is a reporter and newsreader for Maori Television, and presented the channel’s inaugural broadcast from the waka ama sprint nationals in 2005.

This year, races will be held over a range of courses including 250-metre, 500-metre, 1000-metre and 1500-metre sprints. Teams will participate in a number of categories including midgets, intermediate, junior 16 (14-16 years), junior 19 (17-19 years), junior 23 (20-23 years), open (24 years and over), master (35 years and over), senior master (45 years and over), kuia (55 years and over) and kaumatua (60 years and over).

Steve Harris says the general consensus among the foundation members of the sport – which began in New Zealand in 1986 – was that the growth has been “unbelievable”.

His wife, Miria, is a member of a New Zealand squad currently in training for the 2006 World Sprint Champs to be hosted by New Zealand in March and will paddle at this year’s nationals. Both their children – Travis and Sarah – have also attended the world champs in Tahiti (2002) and Hawaii (2004).

“Waka ama now has more than 7,000 registered paddlers and is the fastest growing water sport in Aotearoa,” Harris says. “It’s a whanau-orientated sport that is vibrant, competitive and exciting.”

Witness the drama and action as the country’s best crews battle it out for top honours at the 2006 WAKA AMA SPRINT NATIONALS on Maori Television from Wednesday January 18 to Friday January 20 between 8.00 PM and 8.30 PM, and on Saturday January 21 from 4.00 PM to 6.00 PM.

ENDS

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR 2006 WAKA AMA SPRINT NATIONALS

Year 2006
Censor General Exhibition (G)
Duration 3 x 30-minute and 1 x 120-minute sports specials
Language Maori and English

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