More than 200 waka ama tauira will converge on Huntly this weekend as the sixth Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Waka Wananga is held.
Waka Wānanga is an internal waka regatta for tauira to achieve the event management component of their programme.
Kaiārahi Brendon Morgan says Waka Wānanga was first held in 2012 and has grown in popularity each year it has been held.
The event brings together tauira from the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa sites where waka programmes are taught.
At this year’s Waka Wānanga, Level 4 tauira from Tāmaki, Mangakōtukutuku, Tauranga, Heretaunga and Porirua will join Level 5 tauira from Mangakōtukutuku and Heretaunga.
Level 4 tauira will take part in sprint racing and waka kōpapa, along with on-land challenges, while the Level 5 tauira will take part in a 30km race on the Waikato River from Huntly to Ngāruawahia and back. It will be the first time the long distance race has been held.
Included on the on-land challenges are a Coastguard Day Skipper challenge, waka erg competitions and a water survival component.
Those attending the event will be housed at marae in the Rāhui Pōkeka area and the Huntly campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
Heretaunga are the current holders of the mauri of Waka Wānanga, Tangi Te Kura after finishing top in last year’s event.
The long distance race begins at 10.30am Friday while on Saturday racing begins at 9.30am at Lake Puketerini in Huntly.