By Te Karere


While races are going ahead at the Waka Ama National sprints in Karapiro, behind the scenes, there's a small contingent from Tahiti hoping to learn different ways of world sprints in their native lands later in the year.

According to Tiphaine Gribelin, waka ama organiser from Tahiti, our Pacific relatives aren't only looking at our local organisation skills but they're also intrigued by the Māori culture.

“It’s like getting together because we're not just doing a championship we're also trying to get something more out of it especially the cultural side.”

Thus the reason for their arrival, which is to learn about the culture and ways of Māori to take back home and help with their preparations for the big event.

“We're going to have a few people from here NZ, Hawaii talking about either the language or how we can preserve our cultural differences in Polynesia.”

Adding to that is the organising side, which she says there are no better examples to copy from.

“We're really looking forward to understanding how can you run like 3000 people in six days so smoothly. What can we pick up from you guys from your venue, from your way of doing things that we can implement so that our 2000 paddlers can have a really great time racing in Tahiti.”

In saying that, Gribelin also says Māori should not sit back and forget about their opponents.

“There is going to be 600 Tahitians ready to paddle with NZ and that’s for sure with Māori so kind of get ready. We were hoping our team is also you know pick up the heat cause Tahitian are really proud people. I mean I'm sure Māori too. Really looking forward that and do what we going to have because there's going to be 400 Māori that are registered by now. So there's going to be really exciting heats so looking forward to it.”

Teams and paddlers must qualify this week for Waka Ama World Championships which will be held in July this year.