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Team profiles, names and origins

Friday 18 November 2011 | Published in Regional


For the first time ever, Cook Islands paddling clubs have merged to form national squads for Vaka Eiva.

The Cook Islands mens squad comprised mostly of experienced paddlers, four of whom recently competed at the South Pacific Games in Noumea will take on crews from overseas in the Round Raro and the iron races. They are shaping up to be a formidable crew.

Pacific Games paddlers Tungane Manuel, Marona Mita, Tupuna Amo and Andre Tutaka-George join Melvin, John Beasley and Paul Pearson and first-time paddler Shahram Saboori in the line-up. Amo will be steering the crew, and relieved during changeovers by Dearlove.

The squad is mostly young paddlers Tutaka-George, who last year paddled with the U19 boys crews, is just 17.

Two womens squads one A team and one B will also represent the Cook Islands next week.

The girls have been training for months with Ron Roly Rolleston, a paddler who spent 15 years as a fitness trainer for the New Zealand Navy.

The Cook Islands national squads will compete in the Round Raro, iron races and sprints but have not as yet entered into the running for the Mixed Round Raro Race.

Aitutaki junior paddlers will compete in the Mapu Oe Vaka races however only a couple of senior paddlers will join paddlers in Rarotonga for the festival.

Crown Beach Kings are hot favourites to win back Pacific Cup for the round Raro relay race they won in 2009. The team recent took out the Hamilton Cup 2011.

The team includes top Australian paddlers most of whom were part of the Vaka Eiva 2009 winning crew.

Hot favourites to take back the Pacific Cup after their third placing last year, though several members of the crew were in the inaugural Bob Worthington Memorial Mixed Round Raro race the day before their Mens Round Raro Race.

Toa Moana, Mooloolaba Outrigger (master men & master women)

Had a year off last year, but the new president of AOCRA Mark Forbes is bringing his crew back for the sixth time and both crews will be as competitive as ever.

Hammerheads, Capricorn Coast (master men)

Hammerheads raced at Vaka Eiva in 2010 and had a fantastic time.

This year we intend to be back fitter, stronger and more prepared to party even harder!

At the 2009 Vaka Eiva festival the Noosa senior master mens took out the division.

The crew other achievements include 1st place at the IVF World Sprints 2010, 1st in the GMM 500m and 1000m events.

At the Australian National sprints the crew placed 1st in the master mens division, 2nd in the senior master mens division.

TOFS (The Old Farts) Sunshine Coast (senior master men)

We are coming back to the rock because Vic likes Allan (quote unquote from Mr Rasmussen!).

Waka Wahine, Waka Down Under (Open Women)

Waka Wahine and Waka Down Under are a mix of paddlers from Victorian clubs in Melbourne.

Most paddlers in the crew have done all Victorian zone regattas in Melbourne and Tasmania, Vaka Eiva 2009 and 2010, Hamilton Island cup from 2007 to 2011, Gold Coast cup from 2009 to 20011, Nationals in Australia and the Takapuna Cup in New Zealand this year.

Patterson Lakes, Patterson Lakes CC (open women & mixed)

The mixed crew were 3rd in the Vaka Eiva 2010 master mixed division, 1st in Hamilton Island and Takapuna Beach Cup in 2011 and they will be looking to make it a hat trick for their mixed crew in 2011!

Crown Beach Belles, Surfers Paradise (open women)

Four time Gold Coast Cup winners, 2010 Molokai Na Wahine O Ke Kai 3rd place getters this is one team to watch out for in the open womens division.

The team is made up of OC1 paddlers, surf ski and kayak paddlers and surf lifesavers.

This is the teams first trip to the Cook Islands and along with their Crown Beach King mates will be looking to take out the womens round Raro as well as the mixed round Raro with the kings!

Competed in all local regattas in Australia including Hamilton Island and Gold Coast Cup and some of the crew have previously competed in Vaka Eiva under different crews.

Nth Qld Coral Sea Magnetic Coast (master women)

The Coral Sea Magnetic crew competed in the 2009 Vaka Eiva mixed masters division and placed second. In 2008 the crew won the Micronesia Cup. All paddlers compete regularly in the local regattas and most competed and medalled at the World Sprints.

Far Nth Qld Port Douglas (master women)

Some of the crew are experienced medal winners from Vaka Eiva 2009 and they are joined by some keen novices who are gunning for a medal of their own this year.

The Mooloolaba senior master womens crew are currently winning all the regattas in Australian national calendar in 2011.

Mooloolaba is a strong and committed club and we have raced at Vaka Eiva many times.

Rogz for Dogz have attended Vaka Eiva since 2007. In the past the team have entered a mixed crew and placed 2nd in the round Raro in 2009 and 2010 as well as placing in the top bunch in sprints both years. We bring goodies & raise money for Esther Honey Foundation each year and we won the talent contest last year, so you have to let us come back!

The paddlers in this crew are from different clubs in NSW and know there is a lot more to Raro than just the paddling, which is why they keep coming back. The atmosphere, the people, the fun and of course the dogs!

Rogz for Dogz has donated thousands of dollars worth of gear to Esther Honey during their past visits and will do the same again this year.

They come with suitcases full of dog goodies and they leave with suitcases full of Raro goodies!

The Waka Down Under crew have competed at the 2009 and 2010 Vaka Eiva festival and are back again for another week of paddling fun.

We are a group of paddlers from Melbourne, Australia. We have paddlers from four of the six registered clubs in Victoria.

All of us have competed in the Victorian regattas and at the Hamilton Island Outrigger regatta held every June.

Our home is on the banks of the mighty Murray River which is the border of the states of Victoria and New South Wales.

We live 250km from the nearest ocean Rarotonga here we come and watch out for Clarkie!

Touch and go whether this crew would return to Vaka Eiva 2011 after floods and cyclones badly affected their region, but they were keen to commit and will be back!

Te Ika Nui is a small but very talented outrigger canoe club located at Ettalong on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia. Our members have competed in zone, state and national competitions.

We have also competed in Kona Hawaii, Takapuna Cup New Zealand and last year in the Cook Islands. The list of medalling achievements has been outstanding (in fact too many to list).

This crew is made up of top masters paddlers from the Gold Coast.

This will be one of the toughest teams in the division with plenty of champions in the mix.

The crew members of this team have various experience levels and came first in the NSW state titles in the 2011 mixed long course, 4th in NSW state titles 2011 mixed long course and 1st in NSW state titles 2011 womens short course

This club first competed at Vaka Eiva last year and they are coming back for more. The club was established over the past five years.They placed second behind Horouta at the National Waka Ama Sprint Champs and enters in most long distance races in NZ. The club supports and encourages Waka Ama in and around the Waikato area.

The Turangawaewae masters crew have been established for 3 years this year.

We will be missing a couple of the originals this time but we have acquired some formidable paddlers from NZ that will be adding to our crew.

Anthony Cribb from Auckland and Raihe Rutene, is from Huntley but is currently coaching at the 5 Islands club in Wollongong, Australia.

The core of this crew have good experience and they have been in the New Zealand circuit for a little while now but collectively the Turangawaewae masters are slowly looking to consolidating their position in the local waka ama competitions.

Built on hard work and commitment we are always looking to improve ourselves which is key to our motivation and the love of this sport we look forward to Vaka Eiva 2011 and the exciting atmosphere it creates.

This masters crew has a long list of oe vaka achievements including competing at Vaka Eiva and a number of NZ events from 2006 onwards.Three of our members were 2008 and 2010 New Zealand Representative paddlers in Sacramento and Noumea.

Mana Menz have competed at Vaka Eiva for the past 7 years. Originally paddled under Kai Ngaru back in 2006 when we won the master mens title for the round Raro race. Last year as Mana Menz we won the master men round Raro race again. The crew will again be made up of team stalwarts Bob Smith, Piki Emery, Dave Ryde, Grant Barriball, Neil OBrien, Ben Finnau and Rod Hibbert. The crew is desperate to defend our title.

This crew are getting better and better each year and in recent years at Vaka Eiva have won the master men sprints and round Raro and the master mixed round Raro. So watch these old salts to lead in the division again this year.

Five O, Canterbury Canoe Club (senior master men)

The club attended the inaugural Vaka Eiva event in 2004 and want to renew that relationship and start having more clubs from Christchurch attending the Cook Islands festival.

Men in Black, Taniwha Outrigger (senior master men)

Returning in 2011 for their third year, Men in Black are determined to back up their 2010 silver medal with another placing.

IEKOKO, Porirua Canoe Kayak Club (open men, open women, open mixed)

This family team is looking to come back and paddle at vaka Eiva 2011.

We paddle in all the New Zealand marathons.

Recently we competed at the Takapuna Cup and came second in the open women division. Some of the team paddled at Vaka Eiva in 2010 and had a great time.

We have come back with new members and are looking forward to paddling in the sun.

The team have paddled through winter competing in most of the marathons in the New Zealand race calendar.

Paddle New Zealand aka Laras Lot (open women)

This will be our 8th Vaka Eiva and we LOVE this race. Our crew will be competitive and always looking for the win. Had an awesome race against the Big Island Girls last year and it came down to a sprint finish! This open womens crew is made up of experienced paddlers from New Zealand who enjoy Vaka Eiva very much. For some this will be our 7th Vaka Eiva and for three in the crew it will be their first. This crew (despite several name changes) has been on the podium for every Vaka Eiva except the first year in 2004 when their canoe, the green Matariki, filled up with water!

Since that year they won the open womens Round Raro race in 2005 and 2006, 3rd in 2007, 2nd in 2008, 2nd in 2009.

Our team is made up of two open womens crews from Tauranga Moana Outrigger Canoe Club and Tuatara Waka Ama Club (Whakatane) who have joined to compete in the event this year.

These two crews have just finished successful campaigns at the 2011 National Sprint championships at Lake Karapiro and came a very competitive 4th place at the Takapuna Beach Cup event.

The team brings a variety of expertise and paddling experiences to present a competitive crew for this years event.

Some of the team will comprise Hiiria (Celia) Hohua medalist 2011 and 2010 sprint nationals, captained the 2010 New Zealand master womens team at the World Sprint Championships.

The crew also came first in the 2010 Vaka Eiva master womens V6 Iron and first place in the master womens round Rarotonga race. They came 4th in the open womens Takapuna Beach Cup 2011.

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. 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.

Now they have their sights set high, and hope to beat out about 30 female teams at the Steinlager Vaka Eiva competition in Rarotonga this weekend.

Competed last in the last two Vaka Eiva and had such a great time we are coming back for a third visit.

Kaha Wahinez, Te Puku o te Ika (senior master women)

The Kaha Wahine O Aotearoa senior master womens crew is made up of senior master women from various clubs in Aotearoa. The kaupapa of our crew has always been to come over to the islands and enjoy the physical and mental logistics of ocean paddling and the hospitality of the locals, and enjoy the beauty of the Cooks! Last year two of our crew won medals in the OC1s and also in the iron and round Raro races.

Te Toki Aunties, Te Toki Voyaging (open women)

Tena koutou katoa! We are a mixed bunch of mamas and wives who have a passion and love for Hoe Vaka. We enjoy the freedom of being out on the waka, away from it all just ourselves, our waka, our hoe and the wai! Bliss! We all currently reside in the Waikato of the North Island and are from Hawaiian, Maori and English ancestry. This is our 1st time at Vaka Eiva and we look forward to the awesome atmosphere that is known to be at Vaka Eiva.

Ponamu Hawaikinui (senior master women)

Five of the six paddlers in our crew have paddled for New Zealand. Our team has won at New Zealand nationals in sprint events for golden master women. We all love the sport!

Te Puu Ao is a trust formed in 2008 with the kaupapa of bringing waka ama and kapa haka together.

Since its inception we have qualified for Te Matatini twice, our national kapa haka competition and won gold medals at our national waka ama sprint champs.

This is our 4th time taking part in Vaka Eiva and last year we had great success with our junior under 19 mens team, King Justice.

This year we are bringing over a open mixed whanau team, even though all but two of us are master paddlers. The kaupapa this year for us is to have fun, relax and paddle hard.

A mix of experience and enthusiasm rounds up this bunch who are looking for good paddling, a good time and sun. This year they have competed as individuals in the New Zealand Nationals, Rotohoe, Takapuna and Gisborne.

The core of Waka Waka paddled Iron and Sprints as a couple of crews in 2009 (Waka Tron and Waka Mako) and have come back as an open mixed crew to do all events in 2011.

We have had an amazing time over the last two years and just have to get back and do it faster and harder this year!

The Waka Waka crew are a fairly inexperienced mixed crew with a large age range!

Most of us came to Vaka Eiva last year and paddled the mixed iron and sprints events. We all decided right there to come back this year and go round the island. Lots of training later and we think we are almost ready.

Parihaka Sports Club Inc are brining a mixed masters crew to compete in the round Raro 2011 event led by Gordon McKay, David McFarland and Richard Pehi.

We are bringing along club members to experience their first international event and are competing in the iron and sprint races.

We are all looking forward to supporting the Vaka Eiva 2011 Regatta and the Cook Islands hospitality.

This crew came first in the Vaka Eiva 2009 senior master mens division. They also won 1st place at the IVF World Sprints 2010 500m and 1000m evets. They also place 1st in the gold master mens and second in the senior master mens division of the Australian National Sprints.

After training in freezing cold temperatures, the ladies from Canada are thrilled to finally be here in Rarotonga to enjoy paddling in warm waters. Last year they met Uncle Nappy and Aunty Anona and they were talking about their plans for the rest of the year tossing up whether to go to another international event or Vaka Eiva and Uncle Nappy was the one who told them no contest, go the Cooks, better racing and lots more fun! One year later here they are!

Anuenue Canoe Club is from the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii. The club is located at Hilton Hawaiian Beach in Waikiki and was founded in 1982. The club is coached by Joseph Nappy Napoleon and they have attended every Vaka Eiva since the inaugural event in 2004.

A crew made up of paddlers from crews that for various reasons had to cancel, so we managed to team them together via email. There are four paddlers from New Zealand (two from Christchurch) one Australian and one Fijian (both from Samoa) and three Canadians who are travelling with team Jericho open womens crew. They vary in age from 33 to 54 and have two senior masters, three masters and four open paddlers who are all happy to be in a crew and want to get out on the water as much as they possibly can! All in the spirit of Vaka Eiva!