Waka ama, or outrigger canoes, are part of the culture of Pacific people. After Aotearoa New Zealand was settled by the first Polynesian voyagers,waka design and use went through a number of evolutionary stages. The different trees available here and their huge size meant that waka in this country eventually became single-hulled and did not need an outrigger float, or ama, to keep their hulls upright.
Gradually, over hundreds of years, waka ama went into decline in Aotearoa. But during the 20th century, Mäori travelling to Pacific islands such as Hawaii and Tahiti observed the continuing tradition of waka ama racing, and in the mid-1980s waka ama began to be revived here. Hosting
the world championships in Aotearoa in 1990 rekindled the flame, and the sport has grown to the extent that many people from different cultures are now sharing in this special part of the history and traditions
of their ancestors.
Initially called Tätou Hoe o Aotearoa, the waka ama association comprised just two founding member clubs, Ngä Hoe Horo in the north and Mareikura on the East Coast. From these small beginnings, the national association, since renamed Ngä Kaihoe o Aotearoa (Waka Ama New Zealand)Inc, has
expanded to include six regional associations, with a growing list of clubs in each region. The week-long National Waka Ama Championships,with upwards of 2500 competitors each year, illustrates how the sport
As the numbers participating have grown, so too has the need for NKOA to address the safety and wellbeing of its members. The relationship it has forged with Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) has enabled it to develop rules to help the paddlers of Aotearoa use waka ama safely.
Heoi anö, rau rangatira mä, koutou ngä tohunga tärai waka, koutou ngä kaihoe o Aotearoa, ka nui te mihi ki a koutou, tënä koutou katoa.
Maritime New Zealand
Updated: Nov 4, 2011
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