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2014 Waka Ama Championships the biggest yet

2014 Waka Ama Championships the biggest yet

A record 10,000 spectators lined the banks of Lake Karapiro last week to watch their clubs compete at the 25th ActivePost National Waka Ama Sprint Championships. 2,600 paddlers from 54 Clubs competed for national honours in various boat classes over distances of 250, 500 and 1,500 metres.

This year’s recipient of the club points trophy for overall performances throughout the regatta was Horouta Waka Hoe from Gisborne. They accumulated 236 points ahead of second place Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club on 197 points.

Clubs competed for national honours in one, six and twelve paddler teams in Junior U16, Junior U19, Open, Master and Senior Master age divisions. Other notable winners from the 2014 ActivePost National Waka Ama Sprint Championships included:

• Tupuria King (Te Puu Ao) – Premier Men’s W1 Champion

• Kiwi Campbell (Horouta Waka Hoe)– Premier Women’s W1 Champion

• Howard Hyland (Tuatara Waka Ama Club)– Masters 70+ Champion

• Vaka Manu (Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club) Premier Men’s 500m W6 Final

• Toorino (Turangawaewae Waka Sports) Premier Women’s 500m W6 Final

• Dog Fish (Te Awa Haku – Christchurch) Premier Men’s 1500m W6 Final

• Mareikura (Mareikura – Gisborne) Premier Women’s 1500m W6 Final

• Tupuria King (Northland) – Premier Men’s W1 250M Dash

• Marama Elkington (Gisborne) – Premier Women’s W1 250 Dash

Lara Collins, Chief Executive of Waka Ama New Zealand, said that this year’s championships were the best yet and that the atmosphere was ‘electric’.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the turnout. This year we had more crews, more paddlers and more people turning up to cheer on their clubs so the success of these championships is just reward for our hundreds of volunteers and New Zealand Post’s ActivePost supporters,” she said.

“Twenty five years ago a small but passionate and visionary group of people wanted to show Kiwis how fun and exciting Waka Ama racing can be. The sport has enjoyed phenomenal growth since, especially amongst young people. This week we had 410 paddlers und the age of 10 competing and more than 1,700 under the age of 19. Over the past 12 months the sports membership has grown by 30% and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, she said.

Nicola Airey, Group Brand and Sponsorship Manager at New Zealand Post, said New Zealand Post was proud to be helping the Waka Ama racing community expand their sport.

“Through ActivePost we support a wide range of sports so that they can boost participation, particularly in their junior ranks.

“More than 100,000 Kiwi kids are participating in ActivePost sports initiatives and the secret to their popularity is that they’re fun, engaging and very much at a grassroots level. Kids want to have a go and try out something and we saw with these championships just how much fun they can have,” she said.

This year a number of teams from the South Island made their way up to the event with Te Awa Haku Dog Fish (Christchurch) taking out the Premier Mens 1500m Final. Another Christchurch based crew, Te Waka Pounamu also took home 2 silver medals.

The Ace Cuthers Memorial Trophy awarded for Club Spirit went to Nga Hoe Horo Outrigger Canoe Club from Pawerenga.

In just 25 years, Waka Ama racing has grown in popularity to become one of the fastest growing sports in New Zealand. Each year, more than 8,000 paddlers from 85 Clubs turn out at events across the country to race Waka Ama in a show of brute strength, endurance, and team work. Many thousands more attend to watch the racing as spectators.

This year’s full list of results can be found here: http://wakaama.co.nz/content/files/52d9edfa01d63/2014%20Nats%20Race_Results_All_Days.pdfa

Full list of club points can be found here: http://wakaama.co.nz/content/files/52d9efc7aa816/Club%20Points%20Final.pdf


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