Attending weekly training sessions held by the Cook Islands Canoeing Association, students who are studying at NCEA levels one and two earn credits just for participating.
The students have been taught skills such as leadership, water safety awareness, swimming, survival skills, paddling and canoe care techniques, teamwork, and knowledge of the local waters, including how to read the currents and tides.
The programme also promotes the importance of appreciating, respecting and caring for the natural environment.
Last year’s overall winners were Nukutere College, who hope to once again reclaim the title this year.
This will be no easy feat however, with schools such as Tereora chasing hot on their heels.
The students range in skill level and for some, it is their first time paddling.
However, they describe the programme as a “fun group activity” and say that it is good for team bonding.
Races begin at 8.30am on Monday morning, with the prizegiving to be held at 2pm.