Paddling against Covid current

Thursday 29 April 2021 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Paddling, Sports


Paddling against Covid current
Blast from the past … Corporate Paddling Champions 2006, the Island Car & Bike Hire team. SUPPLIED/21042822

Cook Islands Canoeing Association is hosting its annual Corporate V12 Oe Vaka Races this Saturday in Nikao, starting at midday.

Despite Covid-19, it’s amazingly uplifting to see such beautiful community spirit amongst the Cook Islands, the Cook Islands Canoeing Association says.

“We have made the most of our situation,” said Teina Taulu, the CICA president. “As such, Oe Vaka has been able to spend time welcoming people of all levels.”

She said looking back on the year “we all thrived during 2020 Cook Islands Games in every sport, and have had great turnouts for our corporate races”.

Oe Vaka is about seeing people who felt they weren’t serious or fit enough for the code coming to the water, or extending their paddling experience from single canoes, to 6-man canoes, and to 12-man canoes, the canoeing president said.

“Oe Vaka has been one place where we have seen organisations, youth, experienced and non-experienced paddlers, making time to enjoy their back yard both within the reef and beyond.

“For a lot of newcomers, being able to soak in moments and look back on our breathtaking mountains while they sit in a canoe beyond the reef or have jumped in for a quick dip before paddling back to Traders – it’s a surreal view and an experience to absorb,” said Taulu.

“For others, water is life. Which is why we ensure Oe Vaka remains current amongst our Cook Islands people.”

She said the first V12 Corporate Oe Vaka Race in the Cook Islands was held in 2002. “Mena Tautu and Paiao Short introduced this as a channel to enable Oe Vaka to fundraise, recruit and develop new and existing paddlers.”

“It was also a great way to share Oe Vaka in a friendly and fun environment – allowing organisations a way to create some team bonding outside of the office.

“Over the years we have seen a lot of organisations bring great form to the water, creative uniforms, and great friendships,” she added.

Funds from these events have been donated to charities, used to maintain vaka, equipment and infrastructure, run community and national programs, assist local paddlers to represent the Cook Islands at international events, and more.

“We welcome all and have sessions suitable for everyone. Whether it be social, competitive, team bonding, lunch break sessions amongst friends and colleagues, give it a go.  Embrace our Moana.” 

The canoeing president added that it’s not too late to enter a team into this Saturday’s Corporate V12 Oe Vaka Races to be held in Nikao at 21.3 Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro, starting at midday. Teina Taulu can be contacted on mobile 51249 or email