More than 200 students from tertiary giant Te Wananga o Aotearoa will paddle it out on the Whanganui River next month for regional bragging rights in the Wananga National Waka Ama Sprint Champs.
Six regions (rohe) will take part on Saturday, November 15, to see which can wrest the mantle from last year's winner Whirikoka from the Te Tai Rawhiti rohe. Other regions competing include Rahui Pokeke and Roroera (both Tainui), Whirikoka (Gisbourne, Papaioea (Whanganui and Heretaunga-Hastings) and Te Tai Tonga (Porirua). The best region can lay claim to the 2014 national title.
The paddlers are all enrolled into the Certificate in Waka Ama Level 4 run by the tertiary institution's campus in each of the regions and they will not only compete to win on the water, but must also display their Coastguard boating education skills. Adding to the challenge, each region has a responsibility for managing a segment on this event.
The Level 4 certificate course is designed to build on foundational skills that will develop understanding of waka ama across a wide range of contexts, including paddling ability, and water safety, while promoting a wider community development of this dynamic water sport.
Waka ama is proving to be one of New Zealand's fastest growing sports and has multiple benefits in many areas involving recreation and leisure, health, outdoor education, tourism and teaching - all career opportunities that can lead from graduating the Level 4 certificate.
A day skipper's certificate and VHS radio licence can also be gained through the course.