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Historic waka journey

Last updated 05:00 19/02/2014

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More than 2000 people turned up at Mangere Bridge Waterfront Reserve on Saturday to root for 200 paddlers competing in the 2014 Portage Crossing Regatta.

The biennial event saw waka ama teams race 25km from Okahu Bay in the Waitemata Harbour across the water and over land to the Manukau Harbour.

Waiting at the finish line at Mangere Bridge was a free family festival.

The paddlers retraced an historic route travelled by early Maori and European settlers in the area.

Race organiser James Papali'i says the event was as perfect as the weather.

"It was excellent. Everything went really well.

"It's probably the best Portage Crossing we've had. There were more people at the festival and more paddlers taking part."

Mr Papali'i also competed in the race with his team from the Portage Crossing Waka Ama Club which took out the gold medal in the mixed team category.

He hopes to attract international paddling teams for the next event in 2016.

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- Manukau Courier

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