Team wins trip to Hawaii

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT -

A team of pad­dlers have won them­selves an all-ex­pens­e­s­paid trip to Hawaii af­ter two wins at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land’s Great Waka Ama race.

Team Nga Tauira Maori, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, beat six other stu­dent teams on March 14 com­pet­ing for the prize trip to the Queen Lil­i­uokalani Me­mo­rial Ca­noe Race.

Nga Tauira Maori, a stu­dent as­so­ci­a­tion, will pad­dle in the long dis­tance race which cov­ers nearly 29 kilo­me­tres.

That dis­tance is a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease on the uni­ver­sity course, which saw the teams pad­dle 5km from Taka­puna beach to Ran­gi­toto Is­land, where four of the six team mem­bers ran a re­turn 8km to the sum­mit, be­fore pad­dling back to Taka­puna.

Team manager and pad­dler Waimiri­rangi Stone says the race was tough.

‘‘The hard­est part was the run,’’ she says. ‘‘I wasn’t one of the run­ners, but on their re­turn I could just see it in their faces. ‘‘They fought real hard.’’ Stone says the team is now look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing in Hawaii and fac­ing a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge.

‘‘The Queen Lil­i­uokalani’s Me­mo­rial race is seen to be one of the big­gest races in the world where nearly 300 teams par­tic­i­pate across the four-day event. ‘‘We can only do our best. ‘‘The ex­pe­ri­ence of just par­tic­i­pat­ing is a big enough re­ward in it­self,’’ she says.

It is the first year the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land will be rep­re­sented at the race which takes place in Septem­ber.

Hav­ing cel­e­brated their win, Nga Tauira Maori will re­group and start train­ing for the race of their lives.

‘‘The win hasn’t sunk in yet as the trip isn’t for an­other six months,’’ Stone says. ‘‘We all trust that our awe­some coach, Papa Maori, will have the right train­ing set for the team.’’

Photo: UNI­VER­SITY OF AUCK­LAND

Happy bunch: Team Nga Tauira Maori cel­e­brate their win in the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land’s Great Waka Ama race.

Last pad­dle: Nga Tauira Maori ap­proach the fin­ish line.

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