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Topp Twins, Patea Maori Club music help academic row Pacific

Topp Twins and Patea Maori Club music helping academic row Pacific

The music of Kiwi classics the Topp Twins and Patea Maori Club are helping Tara Remington row 4000 kms across the Pacific Ocean.

The University of Auckland academic is rowing across the Pacific Ocean from Long Beach Los Angeles to Waikiki in Hawaii with American Paralympian Angela Madsen.

“We’re rowing along and singing the songs of home,” Tara says.

The pair set off in their vessel, the Spirit of Orlando, around 6pm LA time on Wednesday 21 May.

The boat is named in honour of Lieutenant Orlando Rogers, a British marine and fellow competitor in the Trans–Atlantic Rowing Race in 2007 who was killed in a Tiger Moth crash in England in May 2011.

The 4000 Km odyssey is to raise money for New Zealand girl Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman. Charlotte lost her arms and legs to meningitis as a baby in 2004. Now a 10-year-old, she needs on-going assistance with prosthetic limbs as she grows. Tara’s row will also help raise enough money for Charlotte to attend Camp No Limits, a special camp for amputees and their families held in the United States each year. Angela, a former US marine, is also using the row to raise money for wounded American war veterans.

The pair have braved high seas, winds and seen plenty of wildlife in their first week at sea and are now approximately 120 miles off the coast of California.

“For the first five days we had lots of wind and hug waves. On the fifth day we put the sea anchor out for a few hours which allowed us to get some sleep.”

They had to navigate the Catalina Islands off the coast of California in high winds.

“It took a long time, the land didn’t want to let go of us.”

The familiar sea sickness has also hit Tara, just as it did when she rowed the Trans–Atlantic Rowing Races in 2005 and 2007.

“I was as sick as a dog,” Tara says.

Another similarity to the 2005 race has been the spotting of sharks off the side of the boat. Though Tara says none of the sharks spotted have behaved like the infamous three-and-a-half-metre great white she nicknamed “Abby” which battered the boat she was rowing with racing partner Iain Rudkin for 15 scary minutes.

Tara and Angela have also spotted plenty of dolphins, sea birds and sea lions.

The weather finally settled on the sixth day, in time for Tara’s 44th Birthday. The event was celebrated in style with a pot of two-minute noodles, the gift of a mini pot of peanut butter from Angela, and a Tootsi Roll for dessert.

Afterwards they lit a flare off the back of the boat and watched it glow in the night sky.

The pair are rowing in shifts of two-hours on-two-hours off to share the momentous task before them.

Tara says the blisters on her hands are getting bigger, and she swears the memory foam cushion on board for comfort has developed Alzheimer’s.

Tara, a Waiuku resident and lecturer at first got involved with Charlotte’s charity through the Meningitis Trust in the 2007 Atlantic Rowing Race, and now her daughter Jade is Charlotte’s pen-pal.

Visit for more information on Tara and her Pacific Row 2014.
Make a donation to Charlotte at:
You can also track their progress at

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