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Mâori Names Help Inspire Cambridge Crew

Mâori Names Help Inspire Cambridge Crew

Britain’s Cambridge University, fresh from beating Waikato University in Hamilton’s Great Race, is now using inspirational Mâori names for its rowing boats used in trials to select a crew to take on Oxford in the annual race on the River Thames.

At the crews’ dinner in Hamilton in September after the Great Race, Cambridge announced it wanted to use Mâori names for its boats to help strengthen the bonds between British and New Zealand university rowing.

The names chosen for the Cambridge boats are Kaha (strength) and Whakamanawa (honour).

The new boats performed extremely well in trials earlier this week with both crews posting sub 17-minute times in their traditional eights race over the famous four and a half mile course on the Thames. The tough race suggests Cambridge will be in great shape for the contest against Oxford on 27 March.

Mark Ingle, director of Boathouse Events, which organises the annual Great Race in Hamilton, says: “The adoption of Mâori names for the Cambridge boats is a really clear sign of the friendship and spirit of healthy competition that has grown between Waikato University and its northern hemisphere rivals.”

Each year, Waikato takes on either Cambridge or Oxford on the Waikato River for the Harry Mahon Memorial Trophy. Waikato trounced Cambridge in the inaugural race in 2002 and Oxford the following year.

But this year Cambridge gained revenge with a solid victory over Waikato.

“We’ll be watching the annual race on the Thames in March very closely,” says Mr Ingle. “Waikato University will want to restore its honour and reclaim the trophy for Hamilton.”

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