123 Secondary Schools to take over BOP Lake

Secondary schools will take over Lake Tikitapu from March 26 to March 29. Image: Supplied.

More than 1950 students from 123 schools will take to the water next week to battle it out at the 2019 National Secondary School Waka Ama Championship.

This year, 200 more students will take part than the previous year. For the first time, over 120 Schools will take part from the Far North to the top of the South Island.

Now in its 18th year, the championships are being held from the March 26 – 29, at Rotorua’s Tikitapu - Blue Lake.

Chief Executive of Waka Ama New Zealand, Lara Collins says the event has grown from strength to strength each year over its 18-year history, with 2019 set to be the biggest and best yet.

“Each year, the Waka Ama participation base keeps growing. Having been at all 18 events since the first one in 2002, I’ve watched the event grow and we now have teachers who were once students paddling, getting their schools involved. It’s awesome to witness such growth!”

“It’s wonderfully unique and exciting for spectators too. Tikitapu - Blue Lake, is usually a serene and tranquil spot, but when the championships descend, it turns into a place of energy and excitement with cheers ringing from the lakeside and the most stunning backdrop anyone could ask for,” she says.

Asked why there has been so much growth, Lara says “It is a sport that anyone can take part in, and kids really love it! They get to represent their school through competition, be active and learn teamwork and many other skills both on and off the water. Lots of teams will be products of their local clubs or whānau that take part in the sport. Whether teams are competitive or just taking part to have fun, there is something for everyone!”

For the 9th consecutive year College de Pao Pao who travel from Moorea, Tahiti to compete as an International contingent will attend the event. This year they will bring one U16 Boys team and two U16 Girls teams.

Schools are competing for national honours in one (W1), six (W6) and twelve paddler (W12) teams over distances of 250 and 500 metres. Teams competing in the six person 500m classes will also have to navigate their way through a hairpin turn at the halfway mark.

The Event is hosted by Te Waiariki Purea Trust who have hosted the championships with Waka Ama New Zealand since 2005.

The trusts’ CEO Laurie Durand says they always look forward to this event, “The trust is excited and very proud to support the growth of Waka Ama especially for Rangatahi.”

This year the event will be a part of the Rotorua Waka Festival with a Kapa Haka Super 6 competition is being held Thursday 28th March at Te Manawa in Central Rotorua for the School Waka Ama teams to take part in. Also the Hoea ki Mokoia event Saturday March 30 have included a secondary school section of a race that sees paddle around iconic Mokoia Island from the Rotorua Lake front.

The winning crews and individuals for the 2018 National Secondary Schools Waka Ama Championships were:




U19 Mixed - WT12 250m Champ Final


Kaipara College

U16 Mixed - WT12 250m Champ Final

Gisborne Girls/ Gisborne Boys

Gisborne Girls and Gisborne Boys High




U16 Girls - W1 250m Champ Final

Gaibreill Wainohu

Gisborne Girls High School

U16 Boys - W1 250m Champ Final

Tane Heta

Whangarei Boys’ High School

U19 Girls - W1 250m Champ Final

Makayla Timoti

John Paul College

U19 Boys - W1 250m Champ Final

Jake Suitauloa

Te Kura Maori o Porirua




U16 Girls - W6 250m Champ Final

GGHS Manukura

Gisborne Girls High School

U16 Girls - W6 500m Champ Final

GGHS Manukura

Gisborne Girls High School




U16 Boys - W6 250m Champ Final

Turanga Tane Ruaumoko

Gisborne Boys High School

U16 Boys - W6 500m Champ Final

Turanga Tane Ruaumoko

Gisborne Boys High School




U19 Girls - W6 250m Champ Final

Lytton Hinetu

Lytton High School

U19 Girls - W6 500m Champ Final

Lytton Hinetu

Lytton High School




U19 Boys - W6 250m Champ Final

Muddy Waters

Kaipara College

U19 Boys - W6 500m Champ Final

TKTORP Puawaitanga

Huntly College


2019 Entries by Event:


Number of teams

U16 Boys - W1 250m


U16 Boys - W6 250m


U16 Boys - W6 500m


U16 Girls - W1 250m


U16 Girls - W6 250m


U16 Girls - W6 500m


U16 Mixed - WT12 250m


U19 Boys - W1 250m


U19 Boys - W6 250m


U19 Boys - W6 500m


U19 Girls - W1 250m


U19 Girls - W6 250m


U19 Girls - W6 500m


U19 Mixed - WT12 250m


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