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Young paddlers ready for Vaka Iti Junior Paddling Regatta

Thursday 23 March 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Paddling, Sports

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Young paddlers ready for Vaka Iti Junior Paddling Regatta
Tereora College Year 9 students at the Vaka Iti training at Nikao beach yesterday. 23032206

Around 300 to 400 students will be part of the Vaka Iti – Junior Paddling Regatta tomorrow at Nikao Beach.

Cook Islands Canoeing Association (CICA) president Teina Taulu said the annual event has been on hold since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020. The last event was in 2019.

Taulu said this year they have students from Nukutere College, Te Uki Ou Year 9, Imanuela Akatemia, Papaaroa Adventist, Titikaveka College and

Tereora College Year 9, 10 and 11 participating.

She said the students are taking part in the annual event in full force bringing another level of competition.

“Unfortunately Aitutaki is not with us this year but we hope to see them next year,” Taulu said.

Held at the Raro Safari beach side in Nikao, Taulu said the event is all about coming together and racing, learning how to paddle and working as a team.

She said they have received a good response from the students for the five weeks training.

“It’s all about teamwork, unity and experiencing paddling. It leads them to be part of the international event – Vaka Eiva competition in November that sees U16 teams coming from New Zealand and Australia.”

The event sponsored by Bank South Pacific (BSP), Rarocars, Vodafone and Cook Islands Buses will start at 9am.

Meanwhile, the public is encouraged to show their support at the event as the national U16 Vaka team will be fundraising. Funds raised will assist with their travel to Samoa in August to compete in the International Vaka Federation World Distance Marathon Championship.

Taulu said about 40 paddlers including the junior U16 participants will be representing the Cook Islands in Samoa.