Waka Ama in Taranaki
Taranaki’s first long-course waka ama race event took place in March 2023. 90 paddlers took part in the event called Nga Tai E Wha o Taranaki.
“Our sports club is based around the traditional sport of waka ama,” Rosie Johnson, Club Secretary, said. “Part of our kaupapa is to ensure that there are no barriers to access. We have people from all walks of life. With the support of Toi Foundation, we have grown participation in the sport. We wanted to be able to host a regatta here in Taranaki in the open sea."
“Hosting an event builds the status of the club and access to opportunities that our kids, in particular, have. The New Plymouth Yacht Club has been very supportive over the years. This was an opportunity to do a collaborative event with them.”
Toi Foundation provided a capital grant for the club to purchase equipment and a programme and event grant for the race.
“Doing an event like this in the open sea has a lot of expenses related to it. We needed maritime licenses and a fleet of safety boats in support. We needed an ambulance on site and medical support on the water," Rosie said.
“We hope to make this race an annual event. It gets waka ama in Taranaki onto the national calendar. By having the race, we can attract people to the region to see where we paddle. Being able to host an open sea event is really special."