Waka Ama is becoming ever more popular in Mt Maunganui.
18 years ago, Hoe Aroha Whanau o Mauao Waka Ama Club was established to support that growing popularity.
The club’s so-called midget boys’ team will be competing at the Waka Ama Nationals Sprints in January. They are hoping for a good result in the 500m race.
Maia Wharekura says, “We are going to participate this year, that's the main goal. However, teaching our kids to be confident on the Moana is the most important thing. You see people that have left here and aren't confident on our Moana.”
Wharekura is their coach. He says the bonds between family members, who are based in Matapihi, make them a great team.
“Waka Ama is motivated by family and here we have one waka full of children from the Rikihana family. Matapihi have always supported Hoe Aroha Whanau o Mauao.”
Win or lose, the most important thing for the team is family, on and off the water.
The competition starts on the 18th of January at Lake Karapiro.