Topic: Waka Ama

A new wero for Tūrangawaewae Waka Ama

By D'Angelo Martin
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The waters of the Waitematā delivered perfect conditions for day two of the Long Distance Waka Ama Nationals today, especially for U19's bronze medallists from Tūrangawaewae Waka Ama.

The J19s crew from Ngāruawāhia train on the Waikato River and the teenage girls found it challenging when it came to paddling on the open sea.

Their coach Paora McGrath says he's been training the girls for three years.

"Whether it is day or night, we are out on the river paddling. However, paddling out on the open sea is different. The elements affect the conditions and currents."

Tūrangawaewae will look to return next year with their J19s girls, in the hope of qualifying for the worlds.

More than 1,000 paddlers competed in the event over the weekend from 52 clubs around Aotearoa, says Waka Ama New Zealand Cheif executive Lara Collins,


"This is the biggest Long distance Nationals that we've ever had, last year we had about 800 paddlers this year we've got 200 more paddlers than that".

She says the decision to move Waka Ama New Zealand's headquarters nearer the water at Okahu Bay has come at a good time.

"This is a new venue, this whole facility is new. We're really fortunate, Waka Ama New Zealand this is going to be our new Headquarters moving forward," says Colllins,

Paddlers who came first in their division have qualified to represent New Zealand at the 2019 World Distance Champs held in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.