Trust Tairāwhiti announces funding for major waka ama competition

One of the region’s biggest ever sporting competitions is happening this October, with the Tūranganui-a-Kiwa clubs of Te Uranga o Te Ra Waka Ama Association hosting the 2024 Waka Ama Long Distance Nationals.

Trust Tairāwhiti has approved $76,500 in funding to Te Uranga o Te Ra (TUOTR), the affiliated member of Waka Ama NZ that represents clubs in the East Coast region.

“We’re delighted to be supporting the Long Distance Nationals, here in the home of the sport’s pioneers and so many great waka ama champions,” said the Trust’s General Manager Communities Audine Grace-Kutia. 

“It will be a celebration and a showcase of Aotearoa’s most skilled and passionate waka ama athletes. With over 1,200 participants and hundreds of supporters coming from across the country and overseas, Tairāwhiti will be buzzing.

“Accommodation, hospitality and tourism activities will be in high demand, meaning this event will deliver significant economic benefits for our region. This strongly aligns with the Trust’s overall economic development strategy, as well as embodying the Trust’s Wellbeing Framework muka of Tūtangata (cultural identity) and Tūhono (relationships).”

After Cyclone Gabrielle, the Long Distance Nationals have extra significance this year. 

“In light of Cyclone Gabrielle and its impacts on local waka ama clubs - and the region as a whole - TUOTR has specifically chosen this location for the event to be hosted,” said TUOTR Chairperson Olliver Smith.

“Our thanks to Trust Tairāwhiti for their funding, which will help us deliver this major sporting event.

“We’ll be collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the event is well coordinated, with Tairāwhiti manaaki ensuring a fantastic experience for participants and spectators alike. We invite supporters and whānau, locals and manuhiri to join us on 3-6 October.”