It was medals a-plenty for Whanganui's mother and son waka ama competitors Anne and Daniel Kauika at the Vaa World Sprints on Queensland's Sunshine Coast in the past week.

The Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke Whanganui club members were among the 500 New Zealanders who joined 2200 competitors taking part in the world championships on Lake Kawana.

Teenager Daniel Kauika, along with ex-pat Whanganui paddler Te Teira Wiari, were part of the seven-man New Zealand Junior Under 19 squad in the elite competitions.

They won silver in the 1000m race and bronze in the 500m sprint.


Mother Anne Kauika raced for Ruamata Go Aotearoa in the club championships, and their Masters crew cleaned up with gold in the V12 500m, V6 500m and V6 1000m, with their finishing time in the latter being a world record 5m 23.63s.

There were 25 countries represented overall, with the New Zealanders' toughest opposition being unquestionably the Tahitians.

"It's their national sport, some of them more elite paddlers are paid like our All Blacks are," said Anne.

"They're born and raised in a waka," added Daniel.

Conditions for racing from May 8 to 15 were breezy but flat on the lake, with the warm temperatures a challenge for the Kiwis.

Overall, New Zealand won the combined competition with 30 gold medals, 27 silver and 22 bronze, just ahead of Tahiti, and set 28 new records.

"This is the first time ever, we won the medal tally," said Anne.

"They won't want to see that happen again," she added, in reference to Tahiti who will host the 2017 Long Distance World Championships.


As well as the action on the water, there was a cultural night held on May 13 where the New Zealanders impressed with their own special haka, which incorporated their paddles.

Both the Kauikas had to travel long distances to train with their crews in the build-up to the World Sprints - Daniel going away every second weekend to all parts of the North Island, while Anne met up with her Masters team mates in Rotorua.

They will now start working towards the Long Distance Nationals in September, before the Sprint Nationals in January. For Anne Kauika, there will be the World Masters Games next April, then the Long Distance World Championships.

The Kauika's wanted to thank everyone who helped them get to Australia, including their Whanganui club, Ngaporo Waimarino Forest Trust, Whanganui Maori Sports, Future Champions Trust, Inspire Health & Fitness, and Paula Mosen of Divine Massage & Healing.