February 12, 2021
Portage Crossing on without concert
Waka ama afficianados will hold the annual Portage Crossing tomorrow despite the cancellation of the usual concert because of COVID fears.
Organiser James Papali’i says it’s the 19th crossing, retracing the route taken by the ancestors to get their canoes between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours.
More than 100 kaihoe will be at Ōkahu Bay before dawn tomorrow lashing their canoes in time for a karakia from Ngāti Whātua and a 6.30am start for the 18 kilometre paddle to the Tāmaki estuary.
They’ll be welcomed at Ian Shaw Park by Tainui before walking the 5 kilometres to Railway Lane in Ōtāhuhu for the 2.5 kilometre sprint to the finish line at the Māngere Bridge Reserve.
While he’s disappointed the festive was canned, Mr Papali’i says the show will go on.
"The festival has really added to the waka side but the waka side is there to educate our community about the Tainui waka and it is an honour to be part of that history and to revive it so regardless of the festival, of money, we will still do that every year," he says.
In all 27 waka from five clubs have entered, and they’re expected at the finish line at Mangere from about 12.30pm.
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