Friday 18 November 2011 | Published in Regional
Waka ama crew Manuz and Jemimaz are made up of a group of determined women who have not been beaten at a national competition since they began paddling together just over a year ago.
I have always raced with other teams but there is a lot of talent in Hawkes Bay, and it was really time to put our own group together, Hawkes Bay-based organiser Amy Robertson said.
Team members, who hail from Hawkes Bay and all over the North Island, share a passion, but are only able to practice together about once a month.
A lot of solo paddling and individual sport helps them to stay on form, and works well for the busy athletes involved.
We have a talented crew, we have got iron women, we have surf athletes and two of the girls are currently at the world rafting champs, Robertson said.
They are all strong and they know how to race.
No one is contesting that, after the six won gold at the Long Distance Waka Ama Nationals in 2010 and 2011 against mixed teams of men and women.
They also took out other major national races including the Takapuna Beach Cup.
We have won every race convincingly, Robertson said.
Now they have their sights set high, and hope to beat out about 30 female teams at the Vaka Eiva festival starting this Friday with the traditional Vaka Blessing ceremony.
Its exciting, when you have trained hard and you put in the work, its just exciting, Robertson said.
I am really happy to be able to have a crack at it. We want to keep the winning going.
Co-captain Roni Nuku said they were well equipped to handle the race as they excelled at competing in difficult conditions.
I think this will be a good test. They thrive in rough water and thats where most New Zealand crews come unstuck, they dont get to get out on the open ocean.
The name Manuz and Jemimaz reflected the cultural diversity of the team Robertson said.
Hawkes Bay Today