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Festival ends on a big high

Monday 29 November 2010 | Published in Regional

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The 2010 Vaka Eiva Festival ended on a high on Friday night with trophy presentations and the paddles up party at Avarua harbour.

Friday saw the last race of the week-long paddling festival in the round Raro relay for the Pacific Paddle in the women’s division and Pacific Cup in the men’s race.

Winning crews were awarded medals and trophies before displaying their Cook Islands cultural dancing on the podium.

The coveted Pacific Paddle was awarded for the second year in a row to Hawaiian crew the Big Island Girls while the star studded Boiler Boys international crew picked up the Pacific Cup.

The annual President’s Hero award was this year presented to two hard working Cook Islands teenage paddlers.

Boiler Babes paddlers Raukura Ellison and team mate Peka Fisher were joint recipients of the award for their outstanding dedication behind the scenes and helping make Vaka Eiva an enjoyable and successful event for all paddlers and supporters.

The teenagers not only made themselves available for any duties and tasks as volunteers – but they also studied, sat exams and paddled in the Mapu Vaka Eiva division.

2010 Vaka Eiva charity Te Vaerua Rehabilition Centre received $1,570.50 raised through the annual Trader Jacks boiler swim plus funds raised by Aussie junior paddler Jenaya Davis.

Events ran smoothly through the week and the beefed up security ensured the safety of paddlers and their belongings leaving the canoeing association’s guests to enjoy their time of paddling in paradise.

The two-day Trade Day added colour and diversity to the event and traditional sailing vaka Marumaru Atua moored at Avarua harbour was a treat for the visitors.

Vaka Eiva organisers have received nothing but positive feedback from crews and paddling clubs with many already signing up for next year’s festival, which will no doubt be just as rewarding for everyone including paddlers, supporters, sponsors and of course the local economy.