Waikato District Council staff are celebrating coming away with a silver medal in the Rangatahi division at the recent Turangawaewae Regatta.
Returning for the first time since 2019, the regatta saw 24 teams head to the riverbank at Turangawaewae Marae to compete for first place.
The Council team raced in three heats, beating ACC, Te Wharekura o Kirikiriroa, Lumbercorp and Tu Oho Mai to get through to the finals where they faced teams Papakainga and The Ministry of Education for a second time to come away with second place.
“Council’s mahi whaanau are incredibly proud and humbled with our placement on Saturday” says Council Engagement Coordinator and long-standing waka ama team member I-Jay Huriama.
“It was a fantastic day filled with cultural celebration and good vibes – all with a bit of friendly competition of course.”
The Turangawaewae Regatta is the second oldest regatta in Aotearoa New Zealand. First established in 1894 by the Ngaruawahia community to promote and encourage aquatic sports and the preservation of Maori river activities and customs, the event now attracts thousands of spectators and participants to the marae every year.
“For many of us in the team the regatta wasn’t just an opportunity to get together, have a bit of fun and to compete, but also an opportunity to celebrate our culture, history and heritage as well.” adds Huriama.
“We’ll be back in 2024 and we’re hungrier than ever to go for that gold.”
Councillors and staff from the Council turned up to show their support and connect with attendees, with Councillors manning the barbeque to provide 400 sausages to those in attendance – all snapped up by lunch time.
Waikato District Council would like to extend a massive thank you to Turangawaewae Marae for hosting such a fantastic event.
You can read more about the Turangawaewae Regatta, it’s history and see photos from the day on their Facebook page.