For the last 3000 years Polynesians have plied the seas in outrigger canoes using navigation to discover other countries. The ancient Hawaiians, the outrigger canoe was a natural extension of their everyday life. Whether canoe surfing or racing, the canoe was used in play to hone the skills of the paddlers and steersman as a means of ensuring survival on the ocean.
With the turn of the millennium, Polynesian outrigger canoeing is undergoing a revival. Maintaining its cultural base, but extending through to America and Europe. Today, waka ama (outrigging) is a fast growing and developing sport in New Zealand, and part of a cultural revival here and around the Pacific.
In New Zealand there are over 40 outrigger canoe clubs, and over two thousand paddlers attending national events. Canoes, traditional in design, but updated with modern fibreglass construction, are sleek and fast and a great spectacle. The events offered to paddlers are increasing. With six person canoes, two person, and single canoes being options. At national sprint races there is the option to join two canoes and race with twelve paddlers. Teams are comprised of just women, and just men,
New Zealand is proving to be very competitive at international events. At the 2012 World sprint championships held in Calgary, Canada, NZ placed 1st equal overall with Hawaii gaining 61 medals in total.
16 = GOLD, 25 = SILVER, 20 = BRONZE