The first ever surfing competition in Ngati Porou for primary schools was more than just catching waves, it was about connecting whānau to Taiao and the Moana through the shared experience of surfing.
Ninety tamariki from nine schools took part, as far as Mangatuna in Uawa and all the way from Te Kura Mana Māori o Maraenui in the Opotiki district, two hours away from Wharekahika where the event took place.
“My wairua is overflowing, I can’t even put it in words” said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Manawakura Advisor Shyla-Drew Taiapa.
“What I took away from this day was oranga Taiao, oranga whānau – healthy environment, healthy family, our whānau reconnecting with the Taiao and remembering how our Taiao can sustain us holistically. The impact that this resource (surfboard container) has provided for our whānau here in Wharekahika and other surrounding communities all along the coast from Ruatoria to Maraenui is huge. Toddlers, teenagers, to 65 year old pākeke utilise the gear. I have loved seeing whanau especially the dads out there day in and day out practicing with their whānau.”
A container, of 20 surfboards and 60 wetsuits, is located at Wharekahika beach as part of an initiative by the Gisborne Boardriders Club to be able to provide surfing opportunities for communities that otherwise would have barriers to participate due to access. There are two other surfboard containers located in Tokomaru Bay and Waipiro Bay that were funded by Trust Tairāwhiti.
“We are incredibly proud to see our vision coming to life, tamariki and whānau connecting with the Moana and each other sharing the stoke.” said Gisborne Boardriders Club Surfing Development Manager Flo Bub.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the local champions such as Shyla-Drew Taiapa from Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti. We are here to help them on their journey running surfing programs and initiatives by themselves. We have learned that there’s lots more appetite from communities around the cape and we are looking forward to duplicating what we have done the last few years up the coast. Share the stoke.”
Each school entered a team, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Mangatuna, Makarika School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiu, Ngata Memorial College School, Pae o Te Riri, Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti, and Te Kura o Potaka, Te Kura Mana Māori o Maraenui, with some schools entering two.
Each team was made up of five participants. Each team had twenty minutes for all participants to catch a maximum of two waves. Teams were scored on their time – teams received extra points for finishing early, stance, pop up on the board, how long they rode the wave and their ‘stoke’ (how stoked they were).
Future plans are already in place to expand this kaupapa by hosting the first NPEC secondary school surf competition as well as a Te Aho Matua Eke Ngaru competition where the event will be held completely in Te Reo Maori. Surfing competitions along the coast provide more opportunities for whakawhānaungātanga as well as being physically active within the natural environment.
The Grand final placings were, TKKM o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti (first), TKMM o Maraenui (second), and TKKM o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti (third). In the Pool B finals, Potaka blue (first), Rerekohu black (second) and Te Waiu – Waiu (third).