New waka trailer opens up more opportunities for Hawke’s Bay paddlers

New waka trailer opens up more opportunities for Hawke’s Bay paddlers

The Haeata Ocean Sports club in Napier has received a $6,000 grant from NZCT towards a new waka trailer. The new trailer will help the club provide more support to members competing in competitions across New Zealand.

This year the club is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. The past two years has seen the club grow significantly as the popularity of waka ama increases in the region. The club wanted to support its members more by transporting waka to competitions but couldn’t afford to buy a trailer.

“The club has lots of waka craft but previously no transportation for them,” says Honoria Ropiha, board member for Haeata Ocean Sports club. “There has been a real shift to supporting our growing member base. There are five clubs in the Hawke’s Bay but no local competitions so members have had to travel long distances and source waka for hire which is not always possible and is expensive.”

The new trailer will enable members to transport the club’s waka to competitions, taking a huge amount of pressure off competitors. The trailer can hold up to four six-person waka. Over the next six months club members will travel as far away as Northland and Picton to compete.

Honoria is happy with the club’s successful application to NZCT. “It felt fantastic. So pleased with the outcome. I promised everyone we would get it! The need for it was real and very genuine.

“One of our goals is to continue to offer quality equipment for members. When the club formed, we had no waka so started slowly to build up craft. Now the club has three six-person waka, several single waka, a double and lots of stand-up paddle boards. The trailer was the next step.”

Haeata currently has about 80 paying and 20 non-paying members. This year they have a hoppers team for members as young as 6 years old. The club’s oldest competing member is 70 years old.

The club is very engaged with the wider community. “This year we finished a programme for Foundation of the Blind and one of our members did a programme for women recovering from breast cancer. We also do a lot of work with local high schools helping students prepare for secondary school sprint competitions,” says Honoria.

“We are really grateful to NZCT. Without their support we wouldn’t have the trailer.”