First timers to the national secondary school waka ama championship Ruapehu College of Ohakune have only been training for the last seven weeks. But today they were ready to test the water on Lake Tikitapu, Rotorua.
Ruapehu College Teacher Brian Connelly says, “Most of them have never been in a waka before it's a big learning curve but there all excited there all rearing to go.”
The school has brought 16 students to this event. Dedicating hours of training travelling one and a half hours to where they train.
“We have got no body of water near us and so it was kind of sort of a dream to say how are we going to do this. So we travelled down to Whanganui to the river there, we are using the pools, we have had some machines given to us by the wānanga.”
This year 112 schools have registered with close to 15 new schools at this event. Waka ama expert Hoturoa Kerr believes there is still room for more schools.
Waka Ama Coach Hoturoa Kerr says, “The larger mainstream schools in New Zealand are fast to follow the popular water sports but it will be good for them to think about entering into this kind of event.”
Races continue tomorrow first race starts at 8:30.