Team wins trip to Hawaii
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.’’
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.