Waiheke Waka Ama Club Receives $30K Grant

Published: Tue 10 Oct 2023 11:17 AM
President Peter Russell says -
Waiheke Waka Ama needed more canoes, extra paddles and life jackets to cater for its growing club. NZCT awarded a $30,000 grant to make this happen. Waiheke Waka Ama volunteers to coach the Waiheke High School team and supports kids from the other two schools on the island.
We needed life jackets that are fit for purpose and form-fitting to allow paddlers good movement and freedom in the same style as a kayak user. They need to be effective and of a quality that can withstand our harsh sea conditions. Receiving funding from NZCT for a new V6 Waka means a great deal for our small club. It not only increases our fleet, but allows us to offer the opportunity to paddle to more people in our community.
Waiheke Waka Ama is an Incorporated Society, established in 2014. Membership is accessible to everyone from seven years of age and up, with our current oldest paddlers in their late seventies. We are inclusive of people of all ages and abilities and our main goal is to increase youth participation on the island. Children on Waiheke are often at a disadvantage when it comes to organized events, since we have to travel off-island to compete in most sports.
With our new Waka, we will be able to involve more kids and allow them to participate and compete here on the island without the need to travel. We are surrounded by water so we have an ideal environment for this sport. Waka Ama also provides access to the water for people who might otherwise never get a chance to be on the ocean. As a result, Waka paddlers gain a better understanding of the nature of the sea, a vital skill to learn while living in Waiheke Island's environment.
Waka Ama is not only one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sports, but also a great form of meditation and rehabilitation, with events and competitions hosted throughout Aotearoa and around the world. We want to be more involved in the larger NZ Waka Ama community and adding these additional Waka is integral to reaching this goal.
We support the community by participating in community events such as delivering Santa Claus to last year's Santa Claus Picnic. We’ve also raced our Wakas at the Onetangi Beach Races, an event run by the local Rotary Club, with funds raised from this event directly benefiting the local community. Waka Ama has also hosted groups who come to Waiheke looking for cultural and natural experiences.
The beauty of Waka Ama for Waiheke Island is that our coastline provides some world class locations in which to paddle, train, and compete. We have the support of Waka Ama NZ and can now facilitate Waiheke athletes to compete all over NZ and the world.

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