Two days of fun and competition at 119th regatta

FLORENCE KERR
Last updated 09:34 24/03/2014

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In its 119th year, the Turangawaewae Regatta is still a big drawcard for waka ama enthusiasts.

Attracting almost 8000 people, the regatta, held on the shores of the Waikato River near Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, put on a show for all ages on Friday and Saturday.

The punters enjoyed cultural performances, New Zealand music and Maori kai in between interactive stalls and tours.

Turangawaewae Regatta board chairman Delwyn Abraham said the event's growth was the result of a partnership between the board and attendees.

"We hold surveys during the event to see what the people want. This year we provided more family-friendly events and entertainment, interactive stalls and had more stall-holders as well."

The event featured popular New Zealand band Betty Anne and friends formerly known as Ardijah, as well as electrifying performances from the top four kapa haka teams in the Tainui region.

New Zealand Olympics gold medallist Rob Waddell and comedian Pio Terei also had a go on the river.

Twenty secondary school teams from Rotorua, Ngaruawahia, Hamilton and Huntly competed in the kopapa - traditional Maori canoe - secondary school event.

Huntly College won the senior girls' division and Nga Taiatea Wharekura won the senior boys.

The outrigger canoe 10km dash was won by Tupu Kingi.

The kaupapa of the regatta, which began in 1896, is to encourage aquatic sports and Maori customary river activities, with particular emphasis on the preservation of ancient customs and traditions.

The event is also the annual fundraiser for Turangawaewae Marae.

RESULTS

Kopapa senior girls 1. Huntly College 2. Nga Taiatea Wharekura 3. Rotorua Girls High School

Kopapa senior boys 1. Nga Taiatea Wharekura 2. Huntly College 3.

Rakaumanga OC1- 10km dash 1. Tupu King 2. Michael Rogerson 3. Tonga

White Kopapa race 1 open men 1. Turanga Barclay-Kerr

Kopapa race 1 open women 1. Mapera Naera

Kopapa 4 open men 1. Huntly College

Kopapa 4 open women 1. Ngaruawahia Dreamers 

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- Waikato Times

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