The annual Raukotahi Marae Waka Ama Challenge on the Whanganui Awa drew 450 kaihoe (paddlers) from 10 marae and six kura.
Organiser Seletar Taputoro said the annual event allows uri of Te Awa o Whanganui to come together and celebrate the awa, Whanganuitanga and competitive nature, all in one day.
"Waka ama is only a vessel to unite our iwi and anyone can participate regardless of your experience, age or fitness level.
"Bringing uri home to represent whānau, marae, hapū and iwi, and parading the banks of Te Awa Tupua with a rainbow of coloured T-shirts all representing the one kaupapa, is a key component of the day," Taputoro said.
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Ngaa Kaihoe o Te Awa Tupua, a collaboration of local waka ama clubs and trusts - Whanganui Awa Paddlers, Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke Waka Ama, Ratana Paa Kaihoe, Whanganui Outrigger Canoe Club, Te Kaihau o Kupe - ran this year's event on Saturday, February 27, and were able to call upon volunteers from each marae to teach some of the roles and responsibilities involved in making the event safe and enjoyable for all, Taputoro said.
"On the banks we invited iwi and community organisations along to promote health, parakore [recycling] and kai pai."
Taputoro said they also supported kura with their fundraising activities to attend the Secondary School Waka Ama Nationals sprints regatta held at Lake Tikitapu Rotorua each year.
"We are grateful that our day was able to go ahead and acknowledge our whānau who organise our Pākaitore kaupapa each year. We appreciate the support we receive from Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui and look forward to another fantastic event in 2022."