COVID-19 Alert Level 2 and Waka Ama

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As we prepare to move to Level 2 Aotearoa, we would like to thank our Waka Ama whānau for all your efforts over the last 6 weeks. It has been a really difficult time for everyone and together, along with the whole country, we have managed to get through Levels 4 and 3 and get on top of this pandemic.

It is important to understand what will be possible in terms of practicing, participating, or competing in Waka Ama during Level 2.

·        First and foremost – There is no change to Level 2 until Thursday 14 May 2020. Until that time, we remain in Level 3.


If you feel sick at all – Please stay home

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 even a runny nose, please get a test and then stay home until you get the results back.

People at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and seniors) are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.

Once we are in Level 2, Waka Ama activity is as follows:

·                  You can now extend activity beyond your bubble

·                  You may participate in W1, W2, W3, W4, W6 under the requirements that follow in this pānui.
       Please note,  at this time you cannot participate in a W12.

Club trainings can resume but must adhere to the following health requirements: 

Contact tracing requirements:

1.      Clubs must keep a register of paddlers, coaches and managers who attended practices.
They must capture; date, time, name and phone or email address for each person present

2.       Clubs must also keep a register (as in 1) of any whānau or friends that attend practices and may not be paddling.

3.       These records must be easily accessed for contact tracing and kept for at least 4 weeks after the attendance was recorded. The information collected may only be used for the purpose of contact tracing at the request of the Ministry of Health or local district health boards and must be kept secure.

Here is a link to Contact tracing information on the Sport New Zealand website:

Hygiene requirements:

1.      Clubs must put in place processes to wipe down and clean all shared waka and equipment before and after use (This also applies to shared paddles, life jackets, safety gear, and other shared equipment)

2.      Waka Ama clubs that have a physical club facility or one that is shared with another organisation, must ensure that public health guidelines are adhered to regarding that premise.

3.      Waka Ama Clubs that rent or lease facilities must ensure that the owner has adhered to the public health guidelines and should request a copy of what guidelines   have been put in place for the facility.

4.       Individuals must maintain a high level of personal hygiene, especially handwashing and surface cleaning.

              Here is a link to hygiene information on the Sport New Zealand website:

Gathering requirements:

1.      Gatherings at clubs – indoor or outdoor, must not exceed 10 people  (This will be reviewed by Government after 25 May) that includes spectators, paddlers, coaches,   managers, officials, and supporters.

2.      For Waka Ama practice, this means that multiple W6 waka can go on the water and train, however, there cannot be any congregating of paddlers, coaches, managers (more than 10) in a group before practice, during, or after practice.

3.      We recommend that clubs stagger their training sessions to avoid multiple groups of teams gathering waiting for waka on the water etc.

4.      Spectators and whānau who are not paddlers, coaches or managers should be discouraged from attending practices

5.      Care must be taken to avoid more than 10 people congregating at communal points such as entries, shared toilet/changing room facilities and car parks, and to maintain physical distancing of 2m between groups. Phasing of activities is recommended to allow time for people to pass through these areas safely.

Social Distancing:

1.      It is recommended that individuals maintain physical distancing of 1 metre and in the case of someone who is not known to you, you should maintain a 2 metre physical distance.

2.       It is recognised at alert Level 2, that contact during physical/recreational activity will occur, but this should be minimised as much as possible and distancing   should resume when not participating in sport or recreational activities.

In Level 2 you will now be able to travel out of your region and domestically as long as all activities are in keeping with Public Health guidelines and done safely.

Water Safety:

Regular safety precautions must always continue to be adhered to:

-          Life jacket/s

-          Two forms of communication

-          Spare paddle/s

-          Leg leash (OC1)

-          Bailer/s

-          Tell someone you are going paddling and when you are likely to be back

-          If you are paddling in the evening, make sure you have a light on your waka that is visible 1 meter high and 360 degrees. (This applies to W1, W2 W3, W4, W6 & W12)

·         Please consider the weather conditions before paddling. Check the tide & check the wind conditions. Do not paddle in weather conditions e.g. strong wind / large swell, that are beyond your capability.  

·         All equipment should be checked prior to paddling. Most W6 Waka have been sitting outside for at least 6 weeks, so it is important to:

o    Check the lashings are still good and tightly attached to the taumanu. Check the lashings on the ama too.

o    Check the bungs are still in and it is always good practice to check that there is no water in the bulkheads of the waka or the ama

o    Lastly check that there are no cracks or physical damage to the waka or the seats before going out on the water.

·         High risk activities should only be completed within the confidence and skill level of the individual participating to continue to reduce the need for emergency services assistance.

·         Remember that while we have been in lock down daylight savings has changed, it will get dark earlier.

·         The seasons are changing, and the weather is getting cooler. So be prepared for the conditions

·         Be responsible and adhere to Maritime NZ guidance

·         Also...remember that for many of us, we have not been for a paddle in 6 weeks. Take it easy when you get back out on the water, don’t overdo it in your first  session. You do not want an injury to set you back with even more weeks off paddling.

Waka Ama Events:

Whilst sports events are able to resume during Level 2, under Ministry of Health guidelines, the New Zealand Government has made very clear that events and competitive sport should phase in, to ensure thorough health and safety measures are in place. In keeping with that philosophy, Waka Ama New Zealand has made the decisions that:

1.       No Waka Ama events will be permitted to take place until the Government has reviewed and increased the maximum participant number (which is currently 10) and Waka Ama New Zealand is confident that events can take place safely under level 2 restrictions and requirements.  

2.       Any event already listed on the Waka Ama NZ Website for May 2020, will be cancelled/postponed and Waka Ama NZ will contact those event organisers to work through rescheduling their event for a future date.

3.       All Waka Ama events already listed on the Waka Ama website calendar as ‘sanctioned’, ‘approved’ or ‘subject to sanctioning’, along with any rescheduled from May, will need to be re-sanctioned according to level 2 requirements.

4.        Once Government has provided further information in 2 weeks about future participation numbers at events, Waka Ama New Zealand will provide further information,  guidance, and requirements regarding Waka Ama events.

– While we are getting back to more of what feels like normal, it is important that we do not get ahead of ourselves. We do not want to go backwards and have to go back into lockdown, so please be safe and make sure you stick to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and Government.  It might feel normal, but we are not fully back to normal just yet.  Play it Safe

We recommend that your club take time to carefully read and understand the requirements and consider how your club will implement them. It is very important that all of the requirements are actioned by clubs and adhered to by paddlers and teams.  Please don’t rush back to practice and get it wrong.

Waka Ama New Zealand are happy to answer any questions that you may have or for you to contact us to bounce some ideas off us, around how your club may implement the Level 2 requirements as outlined. CONTACT ADMIN@WAKAAMA.CO.NZ


You can stay up to date with the latest information and advice from the New Zealand Ministry of Health here:…/dis…/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

There is also a dedicated Government a website where you can find all essential information

COVID-19 Alert levels:

Also information regarding COVID-19 Level 2 in relation to the Sport and Recreation sector is available here:

If you have any direct concerns regarding COVID-19, you can call the dedicated Healthline for free on 08003585453 (or +64 9 358 5453 if you’re using an international SIMS)

If you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19

please stay home – Do not paddle.

Please contact should you have any questions


  1. LEVEL 2 and waka ama_FINAL.pdf
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Updated: May 13, 2020