Despite having their waka burnt in an arson attack in November , the team at Waka Tangata o Te Awhinamai Te Toki ki Tuakau, will be taking part in the Waka Ama national champs this weekend.
Thanks to two waka loaned from Te Wananga o Aotearoa— along with two others from parent club Te Toki Voyaging Trust, paddlers were able to maintain their training schedule and will be taking part at the Sprint Champs at Lake Karapiro from 15-20 January.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa chief executive Dr Jim Mather said it was an easy decision to provide the waka to the club in its time of need. “Waka ama provides massive benefits for paddlers and helps bring communities together so anything we can do to support that is well worthwhile,” he said. “This would have been a devastating experience for everyone in the community but it’s great the club members have been able to keep training and we’re looking forward to seeing them where they should be – on the water -during the week.”
The club is fielding about a dozen teams at the national champs, from midgets through tomasters, and while Rosalie says it’s about taking part and supporting each other rather than winning, she’s hopeful of some good results.
Following the arson attack, a givealittle page raised more than $7000 for the club and a Waikato District Council staff fundraiser boosted this by a further $1600. But with a new waka costing about $15,000,fundraising continues.
But not this week, where the focus will be on the racing and the whānaungatanga that comes at one of the biggest sporting events being held in the region, with more than 3000 paddlers taking part.