Toia mai te waka nei, kumea mai te waka nei!

An exciting programme has commenced this term for our weekly Challenge 2000 sports group in partnership with Sam Te Kira from the Tuakana Mentoring program, Rangataua Mauri Ora.

Every Thursday Challenge 2000 youth workers take a group of rangatahi to Porirua Harbour to do ‘waka ama’.  A Polynesian wide canoe outrigger sport that is very popular in the Greater Wellington region.

The waka has been accessed with the support by Sam to enable the rangatahi that Challenge 2000 support to experience a sporting activity that will link them to ‘Tangaroa’.  It’s an opportunity for rangatahi to learn more about team work, technique, fitness, water safety and the competitive side of waka ama.

Jacob Wilkins-Hodges, a member of the Porirua Canoe Kayak Club, shared his knowledge in technique, how to hold a paddle, body positioning, safety, how to enter a waka, how to load a waka into the water and how important team work is in the waka in regards to timing. He also emphasised how enjoyable the sport can be, how to make the waka go fast – which I think is what the rangatahi enjoy the most.  The programme is mentored by Tina Wilkins who has experience in waka ama since 1993.

“Waka ama is a great sport for rangatahi to participate in and if they can compete at a national or even an international level.  There is loads of talent in our rangatahi, for some they have not experienced paddling on the water before, so getting into a waka can be very challenging, but the experience builds esteem, mana and knowledge.  I’ve seen rangatahi participate in this sport at all levels. It is positive, the transformation from land to water is fantastic and the experience forever lasting, I am thankful to Sam Te Kira for the use of a waka that costs around $10,000.00.  One day my dream is for Challenge 2000 to have their own waka and resources, but for now we are supported by Sam, Aniuwaru Waka Ama Roopu Inc and Porirua Canoe Kayak Club”.