Town hosts waka challenge

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This six-person Haki Waka, on the shores of Lake Te Anau, is owned by Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu and will be used in the upcoming Ki Uta Ki Tai Waka Challenge on Saturday. Photo: Supplied

PADDLERS from throughout the South Island will be in Te Anau this weekend to take part in the Ki Uta Ki Tai Waka Challenge.

The Waka Ama event would be held on Saturday, October 24, at Marakura Yacht Club, Lake Te Anau.

Ki Uta Ki Tai is a whakatauki (Maori proverb) that translates to: from the mountains to the sea.

Event spokeswoman Karina Davis-Marsden said the W6 event meant it was a six-person outrigger event smaller or larger vessels could be used.

The event would include a 5km novice-only, 5km, 10km and 15km races.

Due to lockdown in Alert Level 4 and other Covid-19 restrictions, many Te Waipoumanu (South Island) Waka Ama events were cancelled.

This gave Oraka-Aparima Waka Ama the opportunity to consider running an event from Te Anau, she said.

“Lake Te Anau is a beautiful waterway to paddle and we thought it would be the perfect location to host New Zealand’s first, most southern Waka Ama event.”

Southland and other clubs from as far away as Dunedin, Christchurch and Nelson would attend.

There would be onshore activities throughout the day with kapa haka, live music, kai stalls, and Nga Kete health-focused stalls from 10am-2pm.

“We understand that Covid-19 has meant a downturn in tourism for Murihiku and Te Anau in particular has suffered.

“We would like to see this event offer not only an opportunity to showcase Te Anau to our visiting paddlers and Waka Ama Clubs, but also create a community event where locals and visitors alike can pop along and participate.”

Oraka-Aparima Waka Ama and Oraka-Aparima Runaka, in conjunction with Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu, are sponsoring and Waka Ama New Zealand is supporting the event.

The event would start at 8.30am with karakia (prayer), followed by safety briefings and checks. The first Waka Ama race begins at 8.45am, second at 10.30am and race three at 1pm.

It was hoped the event would be ended by 4pm, Ms Davis-Marsden said.

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