Waka Ama fun

Learning how to row in unison
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We are all in this together

Kelston Intermediate’s Tamatoa Class (Room 15) were part of our waka ama voyage of learnings at Te Atatū Boating Club, under the guidance of the Waitākere Outrigger Canoe Club. The day’s forecast was for rain, but as our kaihoe (paddlers) would likely get wet on the river anyway, the call was made to go ahead.

Waka ama was chosen because of its cultural legacy and because it encourages connection – with the water and with each other. Unless everyone in the waka works in unison, the waka will slow or stall. Only the combined effort of paddlers wins races.

Did you know that the whakataukī (proverb) He waka eke noa translates to We are all in this together. It also can mean to go forwards together, to rise together, to fall together and to change direction together. There is a lot of “together” in waka ama crews!

Kelston kids in two waka racing each other towards the Northwestern Motorway (SH16)

After a bit of Mātauranga Māori sharing from Tahuri Tumoana and his crew the kids launched in two waka, heading slowly south towards Roberts Road, as they learnt to row in unison.

Pretty soon they were racing each other north towards SH16. The rain helped cool the kids down – paddling a waka can be hot work especially if you are trying to win a race against your mates!

What’s next?

Te Whau Pathway Project will take the learnings from this pilot – and the kayaking programme we did earlier in the year – to understand what is and what isn’t doable as part of Te Whau Pathway Project’s on-water experiences programme.

What do you think? Shall we host more waka ama fun days in the future for the schools connected to Te Wai o te Whau?

John Hughes, teacher at Kelston Intermediate, takes five as Tahuri Tumoana gives the boys a run down on how to work together as a waka ama crew.

Thank you to…

  • Sport Waitākere and The Trusts for sponsoring the day.
  • Nina Patel and HOOPLA for bringing the event on to the awa.
  • Tahuri Tumoana, Club Captain, and the Waitākere Outriggers Canoe Club for providing the wakas, the expertise and the experience. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou!
  • Tonya Wyatt for her work supporting HOOPLA and her mahi with the rangatahi developing a sense of place.
  • Te Atatu Boating Club for the warm club rooms and The Dock Kitchen for cooking up tasty kai.
  • Kessa Fruean and Rui Patel Kerr for helping out on the day.
  • And last but not least, Kelston Intermediate teacher John Hughes for helping us make this happen!

About this event

DateFriday 3rd November 2023
LocationTe Atatū Boating Club
Type of eventWater activity
WhoHOOPLA, Kelston Boys Intermediate, Te Atatū Boating Club, The Dock Kitchen, Waitākere Outrigger Canoe Club
Funded bySport Waitākere and The Trusts