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ActivePost Waka Ama championships return to Christchurch

14th April 2014

ActivePost Waka Ama championships return to Christchurch

Huge interest in South Island for New Zealand Post-backed 2014 National Long Distance Waka Ama Championships

This weekend Christchurch’s Lyttelton Harbour plays host to a showcase of grit and endurance at the 2014 ActivePost National Long Distance Waka Ama Championships. More than 250 paddlers from 17 clubs throughout New Zealand are expected to compete.

Lara Collins, Chief Executive of Waka Ama New Zealand, said that this year’s long distance nationals were particularly special as it marked the return of championship Waka Ama racing to Christchurch.

“Over the past two years there’s been a massive spike in interest in the sport. Especially in the South Island where we’ve seen the numbers of paddlers grow from a handful of enthusiasts to over 360 paddlers and nine clubs. And this year we have Waka Ama crews travelling from as far north as Hokianga and south as Invercargill.”

“It’s the type of sport where it’s hard to find a casual supporter, everyone is as passionate as the next. Whether they’re competing on the water or cheering from the shore, it makes for an incredible atmosphere being a part of the crowd.”

Waka Ama sees six paddlers working together as a team over varied distances from 500m, 1500m to marathon races of 30 –75 km. The ama or outrigger on the left-hand side balances the waka or canoe, helping it to speed through the water with each stroke.

Nicola Airey, New Zealand Post Group Brand and Community Investment Manager, said they were thrilled to support an activity that encouraged people to develop a passion for sport.

“Every year we see more people from more regions competing at the annual ActivePost Sprint, Schools or Long Distance Waka Ama championships.

“Waka Ama is a sport that holds enormous appeal at the grassroots level in New Zealand and, because it’s fun, readily accessible and a good challenge, it’s a great way to get kids passionate about pursuing sports and recreational activities.”

For the long distance championships, clubs will compete for national honours in one, two or six twelve paddler teams over distances of 12km, 15km, and 25km. Paddlers will compete in various age classes on a course that promises to challenge the most seasoned paddler.

In just twenty five years 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.

The clubs competing at the 2014 ActivePost National Long Distance Waka Ama Championships are:

Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club (Manukau, Auckland)Kaihoe o Ngati Rehia Trust (Keri Keri)
Horouta Waka Hoe Club Inc. (Gisborne)Nga Hoe Horo Outrigger Canoe Club (Pawarenga)
Hoe Aroha Whanau o Mauao (Tauranga)Porirua Canoe Kayak Club Inc. (Wellington)
Kai Ngaru Outrigger Canoe Club (Christchurch)Maitahi Outrigger Canoe Club (Nelson)
Fire in Ice Outrigger Canoe Club Inc (Dunedin)Motueka Waka Ama Club (Motueka)
Mitamitaga o le Pasefika Vaa' Alo (Ngunguru, Northland)Tai Tonga 41 Outrigger Canoe Club (Wellington)
Oraka- Aparima Runaka Waka Ama (Invercargill)Te Awa Haku (Christchurch)
Te Paerangi Waka Ama Inc (Auckland)Te Waka Pounamu (Christchurch)
Waitaha Paddling Club Inc (Christchurch)

About Waka Ama NZ
Established in 1987, Nga Kaihoe O Aotearoa (Waka Ama New Zealand) is the national governing body for Waka Ama in New Zealand. Waka Ama’s vision is to lead the development, practice and promotion of the sport and culture of Waka Ama so that by 2035, future generations will have a sport where: “Waka Ama is a heavyweight in the Aotearoa/New Zealand sporting psyche and is recognised as a global leader and significant influencer in the sport, nationally and internationally.”

For further information about Waka Ama NZ visit www.wakaama.co.nz

About ActivePost
Launched in mid-2011, ActivePost is a New Zealand Post initiative to support grassroots participation in sports and recreation and give all Kiwis the opportunity to have a go. Each year, more than 100,000 Kiwi kids are participating in ActivePost sports initiatives. Initiatives that ActivePost provides support to include:
• Kiwi Cricket and Have-A-Go Cricket (NZ Cricket)
• Get Set Go (Athletics NZ)
• Small Sticks (Hockey NZ)
• Kia Maanu, Kia Ora (Water Safety NZ)
• Waka Ama (Waka Ama NZ)

For further information about ActivePost and its activities, visit www.activepost.co.nz

ENDS

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