Topic: Waka Ama

NZ paddlers make Tahiti their new home

By Rahia Timutimu
  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
  • North Island: West Coast
  • North Island: East Coast
  • Wellington
  • Australia

The Va'a World Sprint Championships are almost underway in Tahiti. 

Te Kāea went to one accommodation that is housing competitors from five countries, including New Zealand.  

Despite being a little busy, it's nothing new for our paddlers as it's similar to a marae.

Hinerau Henare Taiapa from Otaki explains, “Were staying here at Taone College, there's six countries staying here.  In this room here we have five different teams- we have our two j16 boys teams, our j16 girls team and our j19 boys team.  It's ok for us because it's similar to sleeping at a marae, despite the bunk beds.”

The New Zealanders have bonded with the other countries here.

The young men from Otaki have trained for a while now, and this week they will see if their hard work will pay off.

Hiwa Baker O’Connor says, “For around ten months, we've been training.  Since the regionals, we've been training really hard for this competition in Tahiti, and we're ready to take on other teams from around the world.

“This place is totally different to NZ, it's really cold back home but it's hot here.  The ocean is beautiful.  I'm reluctant to return home, I'm loving it here,” says Whatarangi Winiata.

These paddlers will take the water following the Elite races.