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Young Boys Podium – First Time For Club

Whanganui Waka-Ama Club, Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke, are celebrating the recent success at the National Waka-Ama Competition held at Lake Karapiro from the 14th-20th of January. Paranuiamata, the clubs 5-9 year old boys team came first in their Taitama W6 250m cup final, a historic first in this age group for the Pūtiki based club. This is the second year the team of 5 young boys has paddled together. The boys worked hard in their heats and semi-final, before securing the top spot on the podium in the final.

“The boys had so much determination to succeed in their final, and they executed their race perfectly. To see the pride on their faces when they came off the waka was just something else.” said Grace Porter, Coach and Steerer.

The team then combined with the clubs other under 9 team, named Pūtiki, for the Taitama W12 Cup final, finishing in third place. For four of the ten boys in this team it was their first time at nationals.

“Our club are excited to be rebuilding our junior membership, last year we took five junior teams and this year we took six teams to the National Waka-Ama Competition at Lake Karapiro” said junior coordinator Renee’ Tamehana.

In addition to the two boys teams, we had two girls teams of the same age group Matakaihoe and Matapohe, an intermediate boys team Ngongohau and a Junior 16s team Kotahi Aroha.

Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke Whanganui Waka-Ama Club also had two junior 16 paddlers Mia McDonnell and Xavier Rayner who competed in their first Nationals in the singles category. “As part of the junior rebuild, singles (individual waka) were added into the coaching regime. Mia and Xavier trained hard morning and night, in rough water and rain, for the past six months. Both paddlers beat their personal times from regionals held in Masterton in November which was a huge success in itself. They have had a week off and will now get back in to training for the National Secondary Schools Waka-Ama Competition”

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“It was such an exciting Nationals week, and it was the first time that Māori Television have live-streamed more than just the finals. It was such a buzz to have whānau back at home being able to watch our tamariki out on the water.”

Thanks to the Tū Manawa Fund through Sport Whanganui the club has finally been able to purchase it’s first ever 6-man waka. This waka will be tagged for use by the junior membership. The club was also lucky enough to be gifted lifejackets from Maritime NZ.

“Without funds and support like this the club would just not have the resources to be able to give this oppurtunity to our tamarki and rangatahi. We are hugely thankful to these organisations.”

This coming year the club will work towards building resources and capacity to continue to grow the junior membership.

Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke Whanganui Waka-Ama club will be holding a Twilight Competition starting on the 15th February 2024 and running for 6 weeks for anyone interested in entering a team and having a go. Any interested participants or funders can find out more about their club by emailing trmth.wakaama@gmail.com.

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