Tutukaka waka ama club Mitamitaga o le Pasefika Va'a-alo claimed one of the two major awards at the national competition's prizegiving on Saturday at Lake Karapiro.

Mitimataga walked away with the Ace Cuthers Memorial Club Spirit award, which was chosen by the event officials and volunteers based on the actions of the club throughout the week, on and off the water

It was adjudged that the club "optimised the values of waka ama: Manaakitanga, Whānaungatanga, Hauora, Tu Tangata throughout the entire week".

After the results from a week's worth of races had been counted, Horouta Waka Hoe were the winners of the competition for the eighth time in nine years. The Gisborne club boasted 38 medals including 14 gold, 13 silver and 11 bronze. The Waitakere Outrigger canoe club came in second with a total of 15 medals.


Northland waka ama legends Bo and Chrissy Herbert were also honoured posthumously for their contribution to the sport. Both were founding members of Pawarenga's Nga Hoe Horo club and competed at an exemplary level. Chrissy died in 2001 and Bo in 2005.

Mitimataga founding member Pili Muaulu attended the competition and was honoured on the first day of competing for his service to the sport. Now, back at his home in Brisbane, Muaulu said he was happy he got the chance to see his club succeed.

"I feel very honoured and blessed to witness Miti and their achievements.

"They have got that trophy to show that the people of our community in Whangārei and the surrounding areas of Tai Tokerau have a story to tell and it is an honour for Miti."

Pili Muaulu performs a Samoan dance 'Mili' in hour of his club's achievement. Photo / Gerrick Cameron
Pili Muaulu performs a Samoan dance 'Mili' in hour of his club's achievement. Photo / Gerrick Cameron

Muaulu said the atmosphere at the event was the best it has been in its 30-year history

"In my humble opinion, the waka ama in Aotearoa have lifted the sport to a very high level. It will be very hard for other countries to come up to their standard that they have set."

Although he was sad that some of the club's stalwarts had not been able to see the club receive the award, Muaulu was glad the community was finally receiving the fruits of years of hard work and sacrifice.