Historic waka journey

16:00, Feb 18 2014
Waka Portage Crossing 1
The wakas take off in the Waka Portage Crossing at Okahu Bay.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
Julius Peterson from team Vaka Manu tests the stability of his waka.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
Cherokee Dolan from team Vaka Manu gets ready for the start.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
Stevie Pomare (front) and Autumn Pomare (left) from team Portage Crossing take their waka to the water.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
The race begins at Okahu Bay.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
Team Portage Crossing in action.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
Team Tui Tonga arrive.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
Maori Teve from team Kick Back G prepares the waka.
Waka Portage Crossing 1
Fareed Razak (left) and Claudine Nathan from team Portage Crossing prepare their waka.

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