Plans for a permanent waka ama facility in Te Atatū have taken a step closer following the news that approximately 200m2 of council land next to Te Atatu Boat Club is set to be reclassified to allow for more storage space for waka.
It will allow the Waitākere Outrigger Canoe Club, which currently operates out of the boat club, to expand its services and place either two 20 foot or one single 40-foot container and waka storage racks. The Te Atatū Boat Club supported the proposal to increase the space.
In addition to the reclassification of the land, Henderson-Massey Local Board agreed to a new five-year lease with one five year right of renewal for the Canoe Club to operate on the land. It follows a previous $12,000 grant from the board to go towards the storage costs for the club at the location.
Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair, Vanessa Neeson, says that the board is fully supportive of the club and its plans to find a permanent base.
“We see great value in the waka ama being used regularly in this area. The club is thriving, with almost 250 members of all ages, showing just how popular the sport is and its value to the community.
“As a board, we are keen to do what we can to help them achieve their goals to promote and develop the sport, along with the importance of water safety and the unique culture of waka ama.
“While this is a small step, providing surety and a location that can be used to call their own while a permanent place is investigated will make all the difference, and hopefully help the club to continue to thrive in the future.”
Tahuri Tumoana from the Waitākere Outrigger Canoe Club says the decision is great news for the club.
“E kore e mutu ngā mihi, ki te Poari o Henderson-Massey e kaha tautoko nei i ā mātou Te Karapu Waka Ama o Waitakere, tēnā rawa atu koutou.”
"We cannot thank Henderson-Massey Local Board enough, who have staunchly supported our Waka Ama Club of Waitakere Outrigger Canoe Club, we are so grateful.
“Waka ama is for all people, all ages and all fitness levels, with the majority of our membership is made up of teenagers and our babies whose heritage is mainly Māori and Pasifika,” says Tahuri.
“This lease agreement will give our club the ability to better service the needs of our club teams and our community as the only waka ama club in west in Auckland, which we want to continue to grow.
“The extension to utilise the park land will mean minimal environmental impact but will have a huge flow on effect for our sport and our wider whānau.
“Ultimately, we want a permanent base, but this lease gives us a real solid base to operate from and means we can do more than we have been able to before.
“Our thanks to Henderson-Massey Local Board and the Te Atatu Boat Club who have supported us all the way to reach this point. We are really excited about the future!”