Delivering Kando For Waka Ama Success
In the glowing aftermath of Pacific Advance Secondary School’s (PASS) remarkable fourth-place finish at the 2023 Waka Ama World Distance Championships in Samoa, community support, spearheaded by Yamaha Motor New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand, is helping to ensure the continued success of the PASS Waka Ama program.
"Waka Ama is a vital part of our students connecting with their ancestral roots across the Pacific"
The generous donation of a compact inflatable support vessel initiated the school’s engagement with the Coastguard to ensure it was fit for purpose. The request came hot on the heels of Yamaha’s recent Ramp Ready safety program, held in partnership with the Coastguard New Zealand. Eager to ensure the safety of the watercraft, the Coastguard conducted a thorough check and required repairs, while Yamaha Motor New Zealand stepped forward with a new outboard engine.
Jonny Bannister from Coastguard New Zealand said his team could not resist participating in the initiative.
“I think this is a brilliant project,” he exclaimed. “The school has inspirational leadership that gets the kids out on the water.”
Following a full inspection, the Coastguard crew donated a trailer for the vessel to assist with transportation. Yamaha dealer, Fishing Boats New Zealand, donated its time and efforts to the maintenance and repair issues. The baton was then passed to the Yamaha crew, who installed a new 15HP outboard motor.
“We came together as a community to deliver a safe and reliable boat to the school that will serve its purpose for many years to come,” Bannister explained.
Reflecting on the generosity shown, as well as the benefits the new support vessel will provide to the school’s Waka Ama team, Pacific Advance Secondary School Co-Principal Falefatu Enari - who heads PASS with his wife Parehuia Enari - said the vessel would become an essential tool which the school will utilise for its unique and nurturing approach to delivering quality education for Māori and Pasifika students.
“We turn to the ocean and use Waka Ama outrigger canoeing to build an affinity with the ocean; it provides wellness for our children, accelerating their wellness,” Principal Fatu explained. “Waka Ama is a vital part of our students connecting with their ancestral roots across the Pacific – but we also know how important safety out on the Moana (Ocean) is, particularly during the summer months.”
Ulalei Enari, a Pass Waka Ama team representative, said the new support vessel would help to continue building his school’s reputation as an emerging powerhouse in the sport.
“Our school has built up a reputation over the past few years for being good at Waka Ama, and this is something we are really proud of, especially because we are such a small school,” he said. “Being able to be competitive against other schools in Waka Ama competition has helped put our school on the map.”
Motivating Ulalei and his teammates is their rich Polynesian heritage, which they are all immensely proud of.
“I find it interesting that us Polynesians have the biggest ocean in the world, but a lot of us are disconnected from it at the moment,” he said. “It’s a big part of why I do Waka Ama.”
Observing the project unfold was Pete Dick, Marketing Manager for Yamaha Motor New Zealand, who emphasised the timely contribution of a 15HP engine for the Waka Ama support boat.
“This great opportunity presented itself right at a time when we are investing in the promotion of on water safety by ensuring owners are preparing their boat prior to heading out on the water,” he explained. “Providing the outboard engine to the PASS Waka Ama project reflects Yamaha’s Kando philosophy, which is about enriching people’s lives worldwide. If we can contribute to the philosophy in a small way with these students, then we are really proud to be part of it.”