Maketu Hoe Waka, based in the Bay of Plenty place of Maketu, is one of the smallest clubs that will compete at this year’s Waka Ama Nationals. With one team going to represent the entire club.
The team that will paddle under the club is Kaitunaz, an U16 boys’ team, which will compete in two races.
It's a sign that ,despite the low numbers, all regions want to be part of the 30th National competition.
Kaitunaz train day and night on their own river who they have named their team after.
“It's our first year in J16s so we're just pretty much just laxed this year,” says coach John Dinsdale, “obviously because our boys are straight out of intermediate and up against the big boys, it’s our 6th training this year and we're just going in with an easy attitude, but we just want to get the boys into the sport really. That's the main part, participation is real key.”
This U16 boys’ team will be the only team to wear the colours of the Maketu club at the National Waka Ama competition.
“It's easy for me just having one team,” says John, “we did have four teams at one stage, two girls and two boy’s teams.”
This Nationals which is in its 30th year, will see one of the largest number of paddlers, young and old compete over the 6-day period. However, it will also feature a staggering 10 clubs who only have one team to represent their colours, Maketu Hoe Waka is one of them.
It's going to be tough for this team, as 42 other U16 boys teams will compete in their category at the Nationals.
The boys will have their first race at the Nationals on Day 2 of the competition.