On Saturday, May 15th the Whāingaroa Whānau Hoe Waka club hosted the 26th Annual Whāingaroa Hoe. After a break last year due to Covid-19, paddlers from all over Aotearoa registered and travelled to Whāingaroa for this exciting and historic Waka Ama event.
This year saw over 1000 paddlers take to the water in three events: The Short Course 8km which attracts both novice and experienced teams, the Women’s and Mixed Team’s 20km, and the Men’s 20km.
The day was opened and closed with blessings and karakia given by local kaumatua Sean Ellison, Paddy Kaa and Lucy Haru. The weather was unpredictable on the day and the conditions were challenging but enjoyable. There are two memorial trophies associated with The Hoe. The Chrissy Herbert Memorial Trophy went to team ‘Wahine Express’ from Ruamata. The Piripi Kereopa Memorial Trophy was awarded to ‘Haroa’ from Hei Matau. The club points Taonga and $500 was awarded to Rotorua Club, Ruamata, with an impressive nine teams registered this year. All race results are now available at wakaama.co.nz.
Whāingaroa had two novice teams entered in the 8km event and both teams performed brilliantly in exciting conditions and a crammed harbour. With over 70 waka on the start line of the 8km race, teams take to the wider stretch of water outside of Te Kopua to begin. Whāingaroa club member Juanita Asi commented on her experience as a first time Hoe paddler: “The start was such a crazy experience that I don’t think you could experience something like that at any other race”.
For local club members, the main kaupapa of the day is hosting the many visitors and ensuring their safety on the Whāingaroa Harbour. It also means serving hot kai to around 1000 paddlers. Club members, whānau and friends worked tirelessly to ensure everyone was well looked after from the moment they arrived. As Race Director Conan Herbert commented, “The race is a good example of a community working together to put on a great day for paddlers and supporters from all over the country to enjoy”.
Behind the National Sprint Championships held at Lake Karapiro each year, the Whāingaroa Hoe is the next biggest event on the Waka Ama calendar.
The support of all the safety and support boats is invaluable and the club would like to acknowledge the skilled skippers, medics, photographers and support crews from the Raglan community who volunteer their time to this event. The skippers at this year’s event were:
Brady Hartstone, Phil Shea, Clint Jowsey, Chris Leuthart, Kyle Leuthart, Tom Rudolph, Terry Wright, Ron Opie, Alec Bell, Don Rangiawha, Hoturoa Kerr.
Thanks also to all the sponsors and supporters of this event:
Waka Ama NZ, Tai Paddles, Raglan Fish at the Wharf, Raglan Surf Emporium, Raglan Roast, Raglan Holiday Park, Raglan 4 Square, Christie Carpentry, Trade Aid Raglan, Orca Restaurant, SWOP, SuperValue Raglan, The Herbal Dispensary, Nikau Osteo, Ulo’s Shop, Raglan Food Co., Raglan Floral Co., Zinnia, Bohemian Gypsy, Raglan Top Cut Butchery, West Coast Hire.