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Big Waka Ama a success

By Gary Caffell

Hoe Tonga Pacifica Waka Ama Association officials were delighted with the success of their regional championships held for the first time in their entirety at Henley Lake, Masterton.

With over 300 entries and 109 races the event was the biggest yet with clubs from many parts of the lower North Island being represented.

Staging a competition of this magnitude did of course place considerable pressure on the resources of the host club, Wairarapa Waka Ama Canoe Club, but head coach Paddy Rimene was “absolutely rapt” with their performance both on and off the water.

“Everything went pretty much according to plan, the lake was perfect for racing and the conditions were ideal, in fact it was probably the first time at regionals that the wind didn’t effect the programme at all,” Rimene said.

“There was a lot of work involved but it was well worth it.”

The Wairarapa club certainly made a positive impact on the competitive front with Rimene particularly delighted with the junior women’s under-16ys crew which despite most of them having only very limited experience placed second in the six-person 1000m final and third in the 500m final.

“We didn’t really know what to expect from these girls and they were magnificent, they just got better and better,” Rimene said.

The midget grade crews consisting of paddlers aged between 6yrs and 9yrs also did Wairarapa proud, placing second in the six-person 250m final, the intermediate women were second in the six-person 500m final and third in the six-person 1000m final and the highly regarded open men won two titles, the six-person 1500m and the 12-person 500m.

Wairarapa results in individual finals were: Junior men 500m: Ducati Walford-Collier 2, Rongopai Rehu Murchie 4. Intermediate women 500m: Paranihia Tamekehu 4. Open 500m: Joe Nuku 1, Parekoihu Taiapa 2, Shannon Rimene-Albrett 4. Masters men 500m: Paddy Rimene 1, Thomas Tawhiri 4. Junior men 19yrs 250m: Ducati Walford-Collier 1, Rongopai Rehu Murchie 4. Open men 250mL Joe Nuku 2, Paddy Rimene 3, Parekoihu 4.

Eight Wairarapa padders were later named in the Hoe Tonga regional team to contest the Waka Ama nationals on Lake Karapiro in mid-January.

They are PJ Albrett-Rimene, Aperahama Hurihanganui, Joe Nuku, Paddy Rimene (captain), Parekoihu Taiapa, Shannon Rimene-Albrett, Andrew Hanara and Ducati Walford-Collier.

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