A local team of waka ama paddlers spent their holidays helping other kids, all to fundraise for the upcoming world championship in Tahiti.

The Heimatau J16 boys, the Pineapple Lumps, came second at the New Zealand champs last year across three events and now they have the worlds in their sights.

One of the team mums, Maria, said in Tahiti waka ama was like rugby was here.

To get there will cost $6000 per boy, or $42,000 for the team of seven.


"It is a lot of money," Maria said.

"Today is about fundraising to go to Tahiti."

For the fundraiser the boys worked with a holiday programme focused on traditional Maori games.

The Rangatahi Wananga series was about providing an indigenous learning experience for 60 children from Ngapuhi and Ngati Kahungunu.

Board member for the wananga Janelle Dymus said the kids were really looking forward to having a go on the waka.

"We're happy to support our up and coming paddlers by bringing our kids here."

Kelly Korau, the Heimatau teams camp mother and secretary, said she was very excited for the boys' team.

"I mean, the boys are so excited, they're up for the gym at 5.30 every morning.


"To be focused enough to want to be the best in the world, most teenage boys don't have that."

The team have been training at the gym from 5.30am to 7am every morning and paddle from 4pm to 6pm every night.

Korau said she was grateful to have the opportunity to work with kids like this.

Team coach Ray Timihou is humble about the amount of work he puts in.

His home doubles as the club house and he volunteers much of his time to the team.