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Vision coming to life

30th March 2023 The Gisborne Herald

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The first Ngāti Porou primary school surfing competition was not just about catching waves.

It was also about connecting whānau to taiao (the environment) and the moana (ocean) through the shared experience of surfing, organisers say.

Ninety tamariki from nine schools took part in the event run by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti and Gisborne Boardriders Club (GBC) at Wharekahika/Hicks Bay.

The youngsters came from Mangatuna in Uawa all the way to Te Kura Mana Māori o Maraenui in the Ōpōtiki district.

“My wairua (spirit) is overflowing. I can’t even put it into words,” Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti manawakura adviser Shyla-Drew Taiapa said.

“What I took away from this day was oranga taiao, oranga whānau — healthy environment, healthy family — our whānau reconnecting with the taiao and remembering how our taiao can sustain us holistically.

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A container of 20 surfboards and 60 wetsuits has been placed at Wharekahika beach as part of an initiative by GBC to provide surfing opportunities for communities that would otherwise face barriers to taking part.

Two other such containers — funded by Trust Tairāwhiti — are located in Tokomaru Bay and Waipiro Bay.

“The impact that this resource has provided for our whānau here in Wharekahika and other surrounding communities all along the Coast — from Ruatoria to Maraenui — is huge,” Shyla-Drew said.

“Toddlers to teenagers to 65-year-old pākeke utilise the gear. I have loved seeing whānau, especially the dads, out there day in and day out practising with their whānau.”

GBC surfing development manager Flo Bub said: “we are incredibly proud to see our vision coming to life; tamariki and whānau connecting with the moana and each other sharing the stoke.

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