WAKA AMA TEAM AT NATIONALS

Please read below for a detailed account from coach Nikki Tarapa of our Waka Ama team’s progress at the Nationals in Rotorua last week.

We took 15 amazing Pukekohe High School students to Rotorua for the week where we stayed at Tui Ridge Park.  Our accommodation was upgraded from marae style to deluxe cabins which we enjoyed. Sonya kept us well fed all week and we made great use of the gym facility in the evening.

Regarding our racing, we’re so proud of our teams. Considering most of them picked up a paddle for the first time in February, we are blown away by their progress in less than 2 months. There were teams at the nationals who have paddled together for many years and our teams were only seconds slower than them. As a coaching team we are very excited by our teams potential.

All teams raced well enough to make it into the plate and champ semi finals with individual resuls as follows:

  • The J19 W12 team came first in their plate semi final which was the most exciting moment of the week. Unfortunately they got off to a slow start in their plate final placing 12th and finishing 24th in New Zealand.
  • Keziah paddled in her first J16 single race ever and made it into the plate final, placing 11th and finishing 23rd in New Zealand out of 55 paddlers.
  • Diesel also paddled in his first J16 single race ever and made it into the championship semi final. Up against the best in his age group, Diesel placed 9th in his semi, finishing 18th in New Zealand out of 45 paddlers.
  • Our J16 Women’s W6 team made it into the plate semi final for the 500m race placing 5th and finishing 39th in New Zealand out of 79 teams. In their 250m race they made it into the championship semi final, placing 8th and finishing 15th in New Zealand out of 78 teams.
  • Our J19 Men’s W6 team made it into the plate semi final for the 500m race placing 7th and finishing 37th in New Zealand out of 62 teams. In their 250m race they also made it into the plate semi final finishing 6th and placing 37th in New Zealand out of 65 teams.
  • Overall, our school was situated within the top 40 schools in New Zealand, in all races.

All teams were 20 or more seconds faster in every race than their Auckland Regional times last month, beating other local high school teams at the national level. Although we didn’t make it to the finals, we were very, very close and so proud of our achievements.

In general, we couldn’t have wished for a more helpful, respectful group of students who we felt represented Pukekohe High School to the best of our expectations. We appreciated the help of each of our parents and left knowing we’d put Pukekohe High School on the secondary school waka ama map of New Zealand.

We are looking forward to the Junior Regatta at the end of this year where we feel our junior girls have a strong chance of high achievement.

We thank the school for supporting our journey and look forward to our continued relationship in the years ahead.

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