Hinehākirirangi is a team to look out for in the u16 women's section at the National Waka Ama Competition in just over a weeks time. With the inclusion of two champion paddlers from a neighbouring club, the team looks to have a better year, after winning National and World gold medals.
Hinehākirirangi is a well-known team in the u16 girl's section.
“We’ve been training a lot, since November, been doing a lot of different exercises. 5 am, 10 am and 3:30 pm,” says Keri Mankelow.
“We started way back early, I’ve been working with the development, we started in October, training camps in Tokomaru Bay, the main focus is on team building, looking after the young ones,” says Kiwi Campbell.
And whilst it's the Christmas holidays, these girls haven't had a holiday. All girls are seasoned and world champion paddlers, but this will be their first Nationals as a team.
“Hinehakirirangi is a team coached by Sharnee. She took a team to the worlds, they were the 500m gold medallists, and they have a greatly based coz they have paddlers from Mareikura. They’re experienced,” says Campbell.
One of the new paddlers to this Horouta team is Keri Mankelow Ngātoro.
“We came from Māreikura, we were the u16 champions last year, 4 and 6 are from Horouta, they're world champions as well,” says Mankelow.
“It’s a nice luxury to have, it's great they come with skills, but we still have to build them, it has been great to work with them,” says Campbell.
While they are a new team, there's only one aim.
“The expectation for them is to do well,” says Campbell.
“I don’t want to say were really confident + not really sure, there’s so many undercover teams, hei matau, some of the teams up the coast. I just like the vibes at nationals, everyone is chilled. I’m hoping to take it out in my last year of 16s,” says Mankelow.
The girl’s last training will be next week before they head to Karāpiro for the Nationals.