A pa­rade of boats for Whau Flotilla event

Western Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MAHVASH ALI

Boats, ban­ners and per­for­mances - the Whau River is get­ting ready to host a car­ni­val on the wa­ter.

Next month a num­ber of wa­ter crafts will come to­gether for a one hour trip along the river for the Whau Flotilla event, or­gan­iser Kathy Waghorn said.

The an­nual pa­rade is in its fifth year and will be held on March 4.

Also at­tend­ing the event is a spe­cial vis­i­tor from the New Zealand Mar­itime Mu­seum, Waghorn said.

SS Puke, a 145-year-old steam boat from the mu­seum’s her­itage fleet, will lead the pro­ces­sion manned by a crew of eight peo­ple.

The flotilla in­cludes a num­ber of rafts, kayaks, tra­di­tional wooden row­ing boats and standup pad­dle boards.

But the flotilla is go­ing to be more than just a ride in a ves­sel.

‘‘There will be lit­tle sur­prises along the way. I won’t say much more than that, you have to come along to find out,’’ said Waghorn.

The 2016 event had 80 ves­sels and Waghorn said there is a chance there may be more this year.

‘‘Peo­ple re­ally en­joy be­ing part of the flotilla. We get boats of all types. There are her­itage boats, old-fash­ioned ones and even speed boats.’’

The event is ‘‘kid-friendly’’ and there are sev­eral par­ents who bring their tod­dlers, Waghorn said.

But the Whau Flotilla not just for the young.

‘‘There are plenty of se­niors who come along and have fun too.’’

Waghorn said those in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing do not need to own a boat.

‘‘If you want to join in we will try and find some spare room to fit you in.’’

Karekare Surf Life Savers will be present to keep an eye on wa­ter safety.

The event is an ini­tia­tive of Hoopla, an in­de­pen­dent col­lec­tive of Avon­dale and New Lynn res­i­dents com­mit­ted to help­ing the com­mu­nity cre­ate a con­nec­tion with the Whau River.

Waghorn said the idea is to have one day a year for peo­ple to no­tice the river.

The Whau flows through Avon­dale, New Lynn, Green Bay, Block­house Bay and Kel­ston. The event is go­ing to take place on March 4 and will start from Archibald Park in Kel­ston. Boat Reg­is­tra­tion be­gins at 10:30am, fol­lowed by a safety brief­ing at mid­day. The event be­gins at 12:30pm.

BRIAN MARSOM

The Whau Flotilla had 80 ves­sels in 2016.

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