Two days of fun and competition at 119th regatta

WAHINE POWER: A kapa haka group performs between races on Saturday.
WAHINE POWER: A kapa haka group performs between races on Saturday.
Getting dirty: Nixon and Waihania Awa play in the mud alongside the waka
Getting dirty: Nixon and Waihania Awa play in the mud alongside the waka
UP CLOSE: A hongi is shared.
UP CLOSE: A hongi is shared.
HAPPY TIMES: Ngapera Moeahu enjoys an embrace between races.
HAPPY TIMES: Ngapera Moeahu enjoys an embrace between races.
Arrival: Waka  arrive to mark the 119th year the Turangawaewae Regatta held on Friday and Saturday.
Arrival: Waka arrive to mark the 119th year the Turangawaewae Regatta held on Friday and Saturday.
Arrival: Waka arrive to mark the 119th year the Turangawaewae Regatta held on Friday and Saturday
Arrival: Waka arrive to mark the 119th year the Turangawaewae Regatta held on Friday and Saturday
GOOD SHOW: A crowd of thousands sat on the banks of the Waikato River for the Turangawaewae Regatta on Saturday.
GOOD SHOW: A crowd of thousands sat on the banks of the Waikato River for the Turangawaewae Regatta on Saturday.
STAR POWER: Gold medal-winning rower Rob Waddell had prime position for the day’s racing.
STAR POWER: Gold medal-winning rower Rob Waddell had prime position for the day’s racing.
GETTING SOME LAUGHS: Comedian Pio Terei, back, competes on the Waikato River.
GETTING SOME LAUGHS: Comedian Pio Terei, back, competes on the Waikato River.

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.

ARRIVAL: Waka, above and right,  arrive to mark the 119th year the Turangawaewae Regatta held on Friday and Saturday.
ARRIVAL: Waka, above and right, arrive to mark the 119th year the Turangawaewae Regatta held on Friday and Saturday.

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 

Waikato Times