Otaki Waka Hoe waka ama club is sending 30 paddlers and 10 management and coaching staff to Tahiti in July to represent New Zealand at the Waka Ama World Championships.

While club members come from elsewhere, some travelling from Masterton, Porirua, Palmerston North and even Rotorua, almost half of the paddlers are from Levin and surrounding districts.

While it is a great achievement to reach the World Champs, some crews already won gold at the Nationals, and the price tag attached to participating in the Worlds is rather high.

That's why one of the parents, musician and voice coach Anamia King, is offering her organising skills to put together a music and food festival next Saturday May 12 from 10am to 4pm at the Otaki Racecourse, 47 Te Roto Rd.


"They need to raise $130,000 as a club to pay for this adventure," said Anamia.

"We've done a few fundraisers already but much more is needed. All proceeds from the festival will go towards helping the kids get to Tahiti."

The dedication of the paddlers to their sport is phenomenal, said Anamia. "They practice on the Quarry Lake in Otaki from 4am to 6am every single day and then come back at night time to train again from 5.30pm."

The times are odd, but during the day the quarry is a place of work for big machinery."

The 245-plus member club is sending five crews of six to the World Championships. They will be part of the wider New Zealand team.

Half the Otaki team comes from Horowhenua and some families have multiple members on these crews.

"They are also still racing locally and often travel to places like Rotorua and Raglan and that also costs money, so raising additional funds for a world championship campaign is not easy," said Anamia, who runs 80k's Academy and Entertainment in Otaki.

Eight bands/soloist and duos are confirmed for the festival as well as martial arts demonstrations. A rock 'n' roll club from Palmerston North will perform as will a group of senior citizen dancers.

"There are 52 registered stall and food trucks as well as 90 motorbikes and 300 classic cars and hotrods," said Anamia.

The classic car owners and bikers will do a run from their home base somewhere in the southern half of the North Island and collect money on their way to Otaki.

Anamia has a few personal stakes in this event. Not only is she trying to help young people achieve, her daughter is a paddler and her dad got all his hotrod mates together to support the event. And as owner of 80k's she is the official sponsor and organiser of the festival.

The festival starts at 10am at the Otaki racecourse. Entry is $5 for adults and a gold coin for kids.