Voyager 2021 media awards

Fired up for dragonboat action in Tauranga

Dr Don McKenzie who started a world-wide movement of breast cancer dragonboating was in Tauranga this weekend. Dr McKenzie was a guest of the New Zealand Dragon Boat Association and spoke at the regatta in Tauranga Novemeber 28. The regatta at the Lakes, Tauriko, featured a poignant flower ceremony on the water for the victims of breast cancer. There was corporate races and a breast cancer race around midday, just before the flower ceremony. In New Zealand more than 600 women die from breast cancer every year. Nineteen years ago Dr McKenzie challenged the conventional medical thinking that breast cancer survivors should avoid rigorous upper body exercise. The Canadian Professor set up a dragon boating team and proved that the exercise only had positive effects for the women involved. Since then breast cancer paddling has spread to dozens of countries, with thousands of women competing in an international regatta every four years (the most recent was in Florida last year and the next one is in Florence in 2018). Tauranga boasts one of New Zealand’s top teams – the Boobops – who won the national title four years in a row from 2010 to 2013. Images by George Novak.

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