Gift of watercraft boosts waka ama

By merania.karauria@wanganuichronicle.co.nz, Merania Karauria


A generous donation from the Leedstown Trust has boosted the Whanganui River Institute's watercraft by three two-person waka ama Pacific outriggers.

Named Pukeko, Iti and Ihaka, the sleek black craft will be operated in conjunction with the Whanganui Waka Ama Trust (WWAT) to support the future development of Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke Club at Putiki.

Institute secretary Rod Trott said the three outriggers joined the three six-person waka in the waka ama ama fleet bought in 2008, which are used for events on the Whanganui River.

The new craft were immediately launched on the river on Waitangi Day for anyone who wanted to have a go.

The Leedstown Trust is managed by trustees Clayton McElwee, Hamish MacKay and Dennis Brown who told the Chronicle they liked "to water the tall poppies".

Mr McElwee is the grandson of the late Arthur Wheeler, who established the Leedstown Trust.

The trust has supported a lot of young local sports talent, particularly if they reached national standard in New Zealand, over a wide range of disciplines.

Mr Brown said the water feature in Majestic Square and a mobility van for Kowhainui were made possible by donations from the trust.

In more than 20 years, the trust has donated about $800,000.

Mr Wheeler established the trust in 1959 with a sum of £6000.

Initially, the Marton sheep farmer was both settlor and trustee and this was later changed to two trustees and then three.

Since the trust's establishment, the capital has grown to more than $1 million, with some of the income being distributed regularly as grants.

In May 2006, the trustees of the day, Wanganui lawyer Dennis Brown, investment adviser Hamish Mackay and Mr Wheeler's grandson, Clayton McElwee, confirmed the trust's objectives as giving priority to "the standard classic charitable objects of religion, education, poverty and community benefit".

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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