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Katuke takes top prize at Mama’s Reef Fishing Competition

Tuesday 12 March 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Fishing, Sports


Katuke takes top prize at Mama’s Reef Fishing Competition
Maarateina Vakapora Papai and her daughter Ashley Vakapora Chaloner, the winner of the heaviest aggregate section. CIGFC/24031106

The Cook Islands Game Fishing Club’s Mama’s Reef Fishing Bamboo Rod Competition on Saturday drew a respectable number of 27 enthusiastic women.

The event, sponsored by Federal Pacific Insurance and in conjunction with Cook Islands Tourism, resulted in a total of 185 reef fish being caught, weighing a combined 15.85 kilograms.

Tai Katuke danced home with $500 cash for first place in the heaviest fish category, demonstrating that winning fishing prizes in the Katuke family are not limited to her husband Nga Katuke, who has won several rod and reel competitions.

Although she has participated in the Mama’s competition for many years, she never managed to hook a winning fish until this year.

“I was surprised but happy that I won,” said Tai.

Delighted with her catch of three decent-sized triggerfish and 10 patuki perfect for the pot, she cooked her fish on Sunday for lunch.

“The patuki was delicious, the rest I had for breakfast this morning (Monday),” she said.

Champion reef fisher Ashley Vakapora Chaloner from Karekare, Tupapa, again breezed home with the first prize ($300) in the heaviest aggregate section, having won it last October and several times prior.

Chaloner also received a prize later in the evening for one of the best dressed in a pareu.

A few papas and tamariki (fathers and children) also joined in the event.

Federal Pacific Insurance (FPI) has sponsored the annual event since 2021, awarding cash prizes in the heaviest fish, heaviest aggregate, most fish caught, and best dressed categories.

FPI manager Eleanor Rivera expressed that the event has always been great fun and is a popular family event for the community.

To wrap up the competition, the Cook Islands Game Fishing Club hosted the prizegiving presentation and the Mama’s pareu wear that evening, alongside a live band to entertain the participants and guests.

  • Melina Etches


Fish species weighed in: Patuki x 164, Parrot x 4, Triggerfish x 11, Ku x 5 and 1 Moko fish.

Mama’s Heaviest Fish: 1st Tai Katuke - 334g Triggerfish - $500 Cash + $50 Prime foods voucher + Bar card, 2nd Mata Isaac - 251g Triggerfish - $150 Cash + $50 prime foods voucher + bar card.

Mama’s Heaviest Aggregate: 1st Ashley Chaloner - 2066g - $300 cash, $50 prime foods voucher + bar card, 2nd Rangi Ioteva - 1570g Total - $150 Cash, $50 prime foods voucher + bar card.

Kids Section: Repaio William won the Heaviest fish section -163g Patuki, and Papa Tangi came in second with a 135g Patuki; both boys claimed the prizes in the Heaviest Aggregate section as well.

Best pareu wear: Bella Nicholas, Sharon William, Tina Upu, Vaine Aroita, Sheena Vaetoru, Margarita Vaetoru, Ashley Vakapora Chaloner, Maarateina Vakapora Papai and Lorna Nicholas.

Special prizes: Bella Nicholas – Dedication, Commitment & Loyalty, Alouise - Best Costume, Eleanor Rivera – Got the right time for fishing but failed to catch, Vaine Aroita - Nearly got whiffed away by the waves, Maarateina – Consistently catching nothing for the last five years, and Margarita Vaetoru – Special thank you for preparing the pathway down to the beach.