by Gemma Bayly, year Head Student, Kaipara College
On Monday March 22nd, a group of students, coaches and supporters travelled down to Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) in Rotorua for the weeklong New Zealand Secondary Schools Waka Ama championships.
Waka Ama is one of the most popular sports at Kaipara College. Waka Ama is a sport where students race in Waka Ama (outrigger canoes). It has been becoming more popular, both in New Zealand and in Kaipara College, over the last few years.
For Kaipara College, Waka Ama is a community affair. When a student starts doing Waka Ama, they also join Tu Tangi Ora, the Waka Ama Club that is based in Helensville. They train together for hours, with the support of their families, and fellow paddlers and under the leadership of Israil Foreman. There is a strong sense of whanau within Tu Tangi Ora. This means that when it comes to races, they know that they have support all around them.
The Kaipara College students had been practicing hard for weeks leading up to this competition. They do their training on the Kaipara River, fighting against the tides. Training often involves waking up early and going home late. The tides don’t change for the students. They have to train when the tide is right.
The students had an amazing week in Rotorua, competing and spending time together watching the races. As per tradition, a handful of boys came back with mullet haircuts and a few girls had undercuts. Everyone was full of stories about their week off school.
The students did a fantastic job in the competition. In the U19 boys W6 500m championship final, the Kaipara White Bait placed first in New Zealand. The same team also placed 6th in the 250m championship final. In the U19 girls W6 250m championship final the Kaipara Hakuna Matata placed 4th. Kaipara Hakuna Matata also placed 5th in the U19 girls W6 500m championship final. The U19 mixed WT12 crew won the 250m championship final, making them first in New Zealand. The U16 Mixed W12 crew also won the 250m championship final. The U16 boys crew, Kaipara Tere me te riri, came 1st in the W6 250m plate final. The U16 girls crew, Kaipara Wonder Wahine came 4th in the W6 250m championship final.
Tu Tangi Ora would like to thank their sponsors, in particular the Kaipara Cruising & Sportfishing Club, Parkview Helensville and Dulux Helensville. They would also like to give thanks to Ritchies and Premier Helensville who help in other ways.
This is an amazing achievement. We are very proud of all the students for all the hard work they have put in.