March 26, 2019
Schools revel in waka ama clash
Students from 123 schools are in Rotorua this week for the annual secondary schools waka ama competition.
Lara Collins from Waka Ama New Zealand says it has drawn schools for all over the North island, as well as Motueka High School and for the ninth year a 30-strong group from Paopao College in Mo’orea, French Polyneisa.
She says as the competition has grown over the years the challenge has been to find a lake big enough, but Tikitapu, the Blue Lake, is ideal.
"This venue here is perfect for everybody. everybody fits in and that is probably the major challenge, making sure the venue can cater for everybody who is here. Apart from that, everything runs like clockwork. The schools are amazing and lots of happy smiling kids," Ms Collins says.
Waka Ama New Zealand has worked with Rotorua Lakes Council to create a waka festival around the competition, including school kapa haka performances in Rotorua on Thursday night, a free outdoor screening of the te reo Māori version of Moana on Friday and races around Mokoia Island on Saturday by both school and adult teams.
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