Hamilton-based waka ama club Te Toki, are building a club that re-connects Māori to all types of different canoes our people are known to use.
Ready, set, Te Toki advance forward together.
Te Turanga Barclay-Kerr (Ngāti Mahuta ki Taharoa) says, “Our club is about all types of canoes and isn't exclusive to waka ama, but all canoes from outrigger canoes, to war canoes, to double-hull canoes and on all aspects to do with waka.”
Barclay-Kerr is leading the club this year, following the footsteps of his father Hoturoa Kerr.
“It is set like that because of our ancestral double-hull canoe, Haunui. My dad takes care of that department while I stay behind to see the practises through, so that our club continues to promote paddling,” says Barclay-Kerr.
Keho Allen says, “He's great at what he does, he takes care of children within the club and he pushes us to get better at what we do.”
A criteria set by members of Te Toki club is that when one is at fault, all must make up for it physically and quickly, from that mind-set, strong bonds are made to help paddle as one together.
Practise ends with prayer, however a close bond is seen as team members bid farewell to each other.
Barclay-Kerr says, “It's our way to bond and remind each other, one mind, one spirit, one club.”
The Waka Ama Nationals kicks off next Monday at Karāpiro.