Waitakere Outrigger Canoe Club was formed in 1991. It was created by a small group who took advantage of two 6-man waka that had been donated to the West Auckland community after the 1990 World Sprints that were held in Auckland. After only a few sessions this group fell in love with the sport and the club was formed. Originally a seniors-only club during the mid nighties the club introduced a new focus on youth development, recognising that this was the future of waka ama paddling and the club. Today our club has grown with eight 6-man waka, 4 single waka and one 2-man waka with many personally owned waka as well. We have an incredibily strong junior programme and growing senior membership. We are one of the largest waka ama clubs in New Zealand and consistently compete well on the national and international stage.
To be recognised as a club which embraces the true qualities of the sport of waka ama through:
Whanaungatanga - maintaining family values
Manaakitanga - caring, networking, building together and hospitality
Striving for quality, pride and excellence
The sport known as waka ama in Aotearoa has a uniquely Pacific and Polynesian base. “Waka”, “Va’a”, “Wa’a” and “Vaka” are all Polynesian words for the outrigger canoe, from around the Pacific. Settlement throughout the Pacific Islands was made possible through magnificent voyages of discovery conducted by waka of single and double-hulled design.
Waka racing was conducted as a Polynesian sport well before the arrival of the Europeans. Captain James Cook marvelled at the speed of the Maori Waka Taua - canoes paddled by 100 or more men at speeds much more rapid than could be achieved by the cumbersome sailing ships.
Waka ama has, over the past 20-25 years, undergone a massive revival. It maintains its cultural base - growing from the Pacific and Pacific rim, but has extended now as an international sport through the Americas and into Europe and even Africa.
Waitakere Outrigger Canoe Club is proud to be part of this truly indigenous and exciting sport.
Wai-te-mata means 'obsidian waters' - the glassy surface resembled volcanic obsidian rock. In Te Arawa tradition, the harbour was named by the ancestor Tamatekapua, when he placed a volcanic stone as a mauri (talisman) in its waters near Birkenhead.
The Waitemata Harbour is a drowned river valley, stretching from Riverhead in the north-west to Tamaki River in the east. It has tidal flats and mangroves in the upper reaches to the west, and sandy bays with sandstone cliffs along the eastern shores.
Waitakere Outrigger Canoe Club is situated on the Whau River. As a club we have the privilege to paddle on both the Waitemata Harbour and up the Whau River.
We would like to credit Te Ara as the source of information on the Waitemata above.