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Waka Ama Championships the ‘best yet’

2014 ActivePost Secondary Schools Waka Ama Championships the ‘best yet’

Surge in popularity for Waka Ama continues at New Zealand Post-backed Waka Ama Championships.

More than 2000 spectators lined the banks of Rotorua’s Blue Lake on Friday to watch their schools compete on the final day of the ActivePost National Secondary Schools Waka Ama Championships. 1,500 students from 95 schools competed for national honours in various boat classes over distances of 250 and 500 metres.

The championships were supported by New Zealand Post’s ActivePost initiative, which encourages young people and communities to participate in sports and recreation. In just thirteen years, it has grown into one of the largest Secondary School sports events in New Zealand – second only to the Maadi Cup.

Huntly College continued their dominance from last year, retaining their championship titles in both U19 Boys 500m and 250m categories. Otaki’s Te Kura-A-Iwi-O-Whakatupuranga Rua Mano also enjoyed success on the water, dominating the Girls U19 racing. The same paddlers from Huntley will also be representing New Zealand at this year’s World Va’a (waka ama) Championships in Rio De Janerio.

Schools competed for national honours in one, six or twelve paddler teams. The winning crews for the 2014 ActivePost National Secondary Schools Waka Ama Championships were:
· U19 250m Boys W6 Championship: Huntly College

· U19 250m Girls W6 Championship: Te Kura-A-Iwi-O-Whakatupuranga Rua Mano

· U19 500m Boys W6 Championship: Huntly College

· U19 500m Girls W6 Championship: Te Kura-A-Iwi-O-Whakatupuranga Rua Mano

· U16 250m Boys W6 Championship: Tawa College

· U16 250m Girls W6 Championship: Gisborne Girls High School

· U16 500m Boys W6 Championship: Rotorua Boys High

· U16 500m Girls W6 Championship: Gisborne Girls High School

· U16 250m Girls W1 Championship: Cory Campbell – Gisborne Girls High

· U16 250m Boys W1 Championship: Kaipo Brown – Rotorua Boys High

· U19 250m Girls W1 Championship: Courtney Johansen – Huntly College

· U19 250m Boys W1 Championship: Joshua Walters – Trident High School

· U16 250m Mixed W12 Championship: Kaipara College

· U19 250m Mixed W12 Championship: Huntly College

Lara Collins, Chief Executive of Waka Ama New Zealand, said that this year’s Championships were the best yet.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with how things have gone this year. This year we had more schools, more crews, more paddlers and more people turning up to cheer on their schools. And the electric atmosphere was just reward for the hundreds of volunteers in schools and in the Waka Ama community who give up their time to make this a truly special event,” she said.

Waka Ama racing has grown in popularity to become the fastest growing sport in New Zealand. Each year, more than 8,000 paddlers from 85 Clubs turn out to race Waka Ama in a show of brute strength, endurance, and team work. Many thousands more attend to watch the racing as spectators.
Nicola Airey, New Zealand Post Group Brand and Community Investment Manager, said:

“Last week, we saw just how far these championships have come in such a short space of time. We’re thrilled to be working with Waka Ama NZ to grow the sport and take it deeper into communities and schools throughout the country.
“Waka Ama celebrates participation and variety - anyone of all ages and abilities can have a go. That’s something we’re trying to encourage through our ActivePost programmes,” she said.

This year’s full list of results can be found here: http://wakaama.co.nz/stories/read/1003531 and photography of every crew competing can be found here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/110544200822387100000/albums

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