Fire in Ice Outrigger Canoe Club Dunedin held their 20th annual Icebreaker Waka Ama Regatta this past weekend on June 5th and 6th.
Two hundred and forty-one paddlers travelled from all over the South Island, Napier, Rotorua and Auckland to participate. ”We were really concerned that many south island paddlers would not be able to attend due to the bridge closures from recent flooding and coupled with having to cancel the event last year we really had to cross fingers – well cross everything for the great outcome!” Kim Thomas commented.
Highlights of the regatta included: Christchurch waka ama club Te Waka Pounamu winning the trophy for “Club of the Regatta” with the most points scored for winning races.
A very special awards evening and dinner attended by regatta participants on Sunday evening was hosted from Otago Polytechnic’ Mason Centre where Vivienne Harvey was acknowledged for her contribution to waka ama spanning 27 years since she started paddling in 1994. In 2015 Waka Ama NZ /Ngā Kaihoe o Aotearoa Board established a Hall of Fame to permanently recognise outstanding contributors to the sport of waka ama in New Zealand/Aotearoa and Viv is the first recipient of this Tohu (token of honour)to be awarded to a south island member of Waka Ama NZ.
The evening also acknowledged Fire in Ice Coach – Toko Vakatini for enlisting club members to organize and host the very first outrigger canoe regatta on the South Island “We kicked off South Island regattas in 2001 with our signature extreme event and paddlers keep coming back year after year to experience the warmth of the Dunedin hospitality and the challenge of the conditions." Toko commented. It is now a “bucket list” event on Waka Ama NZ Race calendar!” said Lara Collins -CEO of Waka Ama NZ.
Another first for the event was to demonstrate best practice in waste minimisation at a sporting event, supported by a DCC waste minimisation grant. “We want to make an effort to counteract the 17.6 billion tons of plastic that leaks into the ocean from land based sources every year”, says Kari Morseth
The organizing committee is sincerely grateful for the support of event sponsors and all of the volunteers and paddlers who spend their Queen’ Birthday weekend with Fire in Ice Canoe Club.
Fire in Ice Outrigger Canoe Club Icebreaker Committee