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Saturday 25 March 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Paddling, Sports


Students make a splash at  Junior Paddling Regatta
Tereora College oe vaka paddlers in the Vaka Iti event. 23032402

After a lapse of three years, this year’s Vaka Iti drew over 300 students from the schools of Nukutere College, Te Uki Ou Year 9, Imanuela Akatemia, Papaaroa Adventist, Titikaveka College and Tereora College Year 9, 10 and 11.

Five weeks of oe vaka training has paid off for students who took part in the Vaka Iti – Junior Paddling Regatta held at Nikao Beach yesterday, with some tights finishes.

The Cook Islands Canoeing Association (CICA) annual event which is held in Term 1 of the school year had been on hold since 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While most Rarotonga schools participated in this year’s event, unfortunately Aitutaki was not able to attend but organisers hope they would be back next year.

President of Cook Islands Canoeing Association, Teina Taulu said: “Students took it to another level from training to racing.”

“It was great to see all the colleges involved since it has been a very long time. Next year we hope all schools join in again and look forward to Araura College’s return at Vaka Iti 2024.”

Vaka Iti is all about teamwork, unity and the experience of paddling. The annual event is a lead up to the international event – Vaka Eiva competition in November that will have U16 teams coming from New Zealand and Australia, added Taulu.

Te Uki Ou and Imanuela Akatemia schools joined to participate in the Junior 14 Boys. 23032439

The national U16 Vaka team will be fundraising to assist with their travelling costs to Samoa in August to compete in the International Vaka Federation World Distance Marathon Championship.

Around 40 paddlers including the junior U16s will be representing the Cook Islands in Samoa.

Vaka Iti was sponsored by Bank South Pacific (BSP), Rarocars, Vodafone and Cook Islands Buses.

The Vaka Iti race results are as follows.

Race 13 Final J14 Mix - 1st Team 9MA Tereora College 0.39.59, 2nd Imanuela Akatemia 0.40.02, 3rd 9IK Tereora College 0.40.37, 4th Titikaveka College 0.41.87 4; Race 14 Final J16 Mix - 1st 10TC Tereora College 0.35.53, 2nd Yr 11 Tereora College 0.36.26 2, 3rd Imanuela Akatemia 0.38.53, 4th Titikaveka College 0.39.46; Race 15 Final J14 Boys - 1st 10IK Tereora College 0.37.22, 2nd 10LC Tereora College 0.38.63, 3rd Imanuela/Te Uki Ou 0.39.43, 4th 9IK Tereora College 0.40.00; Race 16 Final J14 Girls - 1st 10MA Tereora College 0.37.92, 2nd 9MA Tereora College 0.39.14, 3rd 9TK Tereora College 0.39.49, 4th 9TM Tereora College 0.41.31; Race 17 Final J16 Boys - 1st 10TK Tereora College 0.34.95, 2nd 10TC Tereora College 0.35.41, 3rd Papaaroa School 0.36.70, 4th 10MA Tereora College 0.38.66; Race 18 Final J16 Girls - 1st 10TC Tereora College 0.38.88, 2nd Imanuela/Akatemia 0.39.38, 3rd 10TK Tereora College 0.40.28, 4th 10IK Tereora College 0.40.66.