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Friday 18 November 2011 | Published in Regional


The coveted Bob Worthington memorial trophy is motivating crews to paddle through the pain during the Mixed Round Raro Race.

Last year, Worthington brothers Paka and Tapa were part of the Okotai crew that won the trophy.

In previous years the trophy was awarded to winners of the V6 Iron race to Avana, but since last years Worthington win has become synonymous with the mixed round-the-island changeover race.

The trophy commemorates the life of Worthington known by many as Uncle Bob who dedicated his life to promoting Polynesian culture and forging ties between Polynesian countries.

Worthington championed respect for the vaka and the sea and supported Vaka Eiva from its inception in 2004. In its inaugural year, he launched Vaka Eiva on to the international stage when he arranged for Ropati Hebenstreit, editor of the prestigious Pacific Paddler magazine, to attend and photograph the event.

Uncle Bob touched hundreds of lives many Cook Islands students will remember his efforts to offer them educational opportunities through Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii. He passed away in August 2008.

His friends, family and colleagues will remember his passion for people and the soft spot he had for the people of the Cook Islands.

The trophy is in the shape of a triangle, which represents both strength and the Pacific region, and features a parau shell representing the waves of the ocean and a pearl which represents Rarotonga. It also pictures a tikitikitangata motif, which symbolises people working together and the teamwork oe vaka requires.