This year marks the 10th anniversary for the Taitokerau Tallship Challenge. It’s a special milestone for this leadership
voyage which is jointly sponsored by Northpower and Top Energy.
Weather played an important part with a lumpy passage up really testing the trainees, but once into the Bay they were
able to enjoy getting into the challenges and competing for the winner’s trophy. Sailing the ship in heavy wind allowed
the all-female teams to really test themselves, and they demonstrated real skill.
In the words of Whangarei Girls student Cailee Bowmar: “I embraced the change in my way of thinking, becoming more aware
of the surrounding environment and how to take care of it. I also faced my biggest challenge of failing in something ….
and let my anger and regret go.”
Challenges this year ranged from tug-of-war and a variety of beach games, the ever popular dessert challenge, hoisting
and lowering the fores’l together, biosecurity and fauna challenge and the sea shanty competition to name a few. A
highlight for the trainees was the blindfold challenge guiding trainees through an obstacle course of sticks on the
beach without using words. Early morning swims, good teamwork and tidy bunks extra all earned points for the teams.
The winners for this year were the team of Katie Thompson and Kira Watson from Kaitaia College. It was a particularly
sweet victory as both girls had entered the Taitokerau Tallship Challenge competition for the past two years but had
been unsuccessful. This time they not only scored a place on the voyage, but also the winning trophy.
At the end of the voyage, Executive Trustee Jane Hindle informed the trainees of the recent passing of Ta Hekenukumai
Busby while they were away. She noted that when the ship was transferred into a Charitable Trust, Ta Hek had brought one
of his waka down to tautoko the occasion and he was a signatory on our Trust Deed. He leaves a huge legacy.