Te Tai Poutini Waka Hoe haerenga ki Ōtepoti

Some of our rangatahi compete in Dunedin in the 'Fire in Ice Waka Ama Ice Breaker Challenge'

On the 31st of May, 12 rangatahi from Te Hono o Ngā waka, Ministry of Youth Development Program travelled to Dunedin to compete in the Fire in Ice Waka Ama Ice Breaker Challenge with the support of WestREAP, Te Rito Family Violence Network, Poutini Waiora and Fire and Ice Outrigger Canoe Club - waka ama.

For the majority of pākeke/adults and rangatahi/youth kaihoe/paddlers this was their first time ever racing and the first ever to represent Te Tai Poutini the west coast and being part of Te Waka o Aoraki - South Island race calendar from waka ama Aotearoa New Zealand.

Travelling from Te Tai Poutini to Ōtepoti was a 9-hour experience and arriving at Araiteuru Marae at night, another experience of tikanga was learnt. We stayed for 3 nights, competing the very next day, followed by prize giving Sunday and travelling home Monday.

Race day was Saturday with rangatahi crews racing a 3km distance 1km at a time, with 4 turns, Poutini mixed J16 coming in 4th and Poutini Boys J16 men’s coming in 1st and 1st overall. Due to the windy conditions, races were changed and held within the inlet and adult steerers and adult paddlers were used to balance the experience in the waka. Both crews from Te Tai Poutini only had their original one adult steerer and should be very proud of their race and their times. An Amazing achievement! Ka wani kē koutou, ngā rangatira o āpopo.  

Next race was the pākeke or open mixed adult and with the wind picking up again to 35+ knots, it was a 10km challenge where Te Tai Poutini - Pākeke finished 1st in Open mixed and 4th overall. Two of our rangatahi Te Kawa Anderson and Jet Tauwhare were also a crucial part of this team and put in an incredible effort straight after their 3km race.

Within Te Ao Māori, there are a lot of whakatauki/proverbs that connect back to the importance of waka especially one that is “he waka eke noa” that talks about working together in unity. The Rangatahi have showed their dedication and commitment from when we started in term 1 and through this coming up with their own team’s name (Poutini Waka Hoe) and designing their own logo through to screen printing their own tops.

The immense benefits of Waka Ama and the passion, time, and effort that these rangatahi have given, is what drives me to help provide opportunities such as this one. Waka Ama is deeply rooted in our Māori culture and identity, it promotes the values of manaakitanga, Hauora, Whanaungatanga, and Tu Tanagata.

This Kaupapa is incredibly valuable and has made an astoundingly positive contribution to the wellbeing and development of the rangatahi and pakeke involved.

As planning starts again for racing this year in Te Anau, Kaiteriteri and Ōtautahi this whakatauki calls upon the communities within Te Tai Poutini to unify around these amazing young rangatahi as they build their experiences hoping to have a representative crew in the Sprints Nationals held at Lake Karapiro in the 3rd week of January 2025.

We are humbled by our rangatahi and their results, they all did incredible.

Congratulations to you all, Piata Iraia- Ruru, Likaia Te whata, Georgia Tainui, Jet Tauwhare, Taire Mason, Braxton Smith, Philip Harcourt, Andreous Mercer, Haeata Anderson, Nessda Helu, Kohu Anderson and our steerer Te Kawa Anderson they went out there and gave it everything they had, every single one of them. Ka rawe te mahi a aua maaia! (The performance of those brave warriors was excellent)

The last mention must go back to WestREAP for allowing our rangatahi access to use their waka at Lake Kaniere. Without this we wouldn’t of be able to create the opportunity for them to practice every week and connect back to working together.