03 Dec Vaka Eiva success a credit to CICA, volunteers
It was an action-packed week for paddlers, supporters and spectators as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of
the popular Vaka Eiva Festival.
The event saw the largest gathering in its history, with some 1200 paddlers and supporters registered for the weeklong event.
The first day of the event saw the OC1 and V1 rudderless paddlers flexing their skills and showcasing their individual strength.
In the V6 events spectators were in for a treat as teams battled it out, vying for podium finishes.
Paddlers in the Round Raro Relay Races faced challenging conditions – making for exciting and fun races with open teams the Crown Beach Belles and Tahiti Nui taking out the win and with it the Pacific Paddle and Pacific Cup trophies.
The charity Trader Jacks boiler swim proved itself successful again after raising $600 for the chosen charity, the Creative Centre – with all funds going towards the school’s hydroponics programme.
For event co-ordinator Victoria Dearlove, the 10th anniversary was her last as co-ordinator as she hands over the reins for next year’s event to local paddler and former Miss Cook Islands Tina Mitchel. Dearlove looks back on the week’s events, saying it was a safe and successful festival taking into account the many people accommodated for, both on and off the water.
“It’s a major achievement and that’s all down to the members of Cook Islands Canoeing Association and the volunteers. Without everyone’s support it would just not have been as successful,” she says.
She is confident in Mitchel’s ability to take over the event and though she will miss it, she is moving on to help build up the Junior Vaka Iti regatta.
President of the Cook Islands Canoeing Association, Fletcher Melvin says that Dearlove’s knowledge and expertise will definitely be missed, but they are confident Mitchell will grow in to her role with the full support of CICA.
“She helped build the event to what it is today,” he says of Dearlove.
During the prize giving on Friday, Dearlove’s contribution to Vaka Eiva were recognised in the form of gifts such as a beautiful tivaivai, a paddle and fish hook art works.
“I was so overwhelmed and knowing how special it is to receive a Tivaivai, I was moved by all of it,” she says.
Another note-worthy local was acknowledged, as Sani Sosene received the President’s Award for his contributions to CICA and outstanding sportsmanship as he paddled the Round Raro Race despite an injury. Sosene was a part of the winning Boiler Boys International team for the Senior Master Men Round Raro Relay Race.
Closing the festivities, the Vaka Village was jam packed after the final days of races on Friday where paddlers, supporters and members of the community celebrated with the musical stylings of New Zealand band KORA. Dearlove would like to extend a heartfelt meitaki maata to the sponsors and all who helped out in making the 10th anniversary a successful one.