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Kia Orana and Welcome to Matson Vaka Eiva 2016
18th to 25th November 2016
Shipping Vaka Eiva to the future
Having marked a successful 10th anniversary milestone event in 2013, the Vaka Eiva 2016 paddling festival will be a springboard for fresh directions in continuing to grow international paddling events in the Cook Islands. Through its connection to the sea, shipping company Matson has come on board to be the events platinum naming sponsor ensuring the oe vaka festival continues to bring together paddlers from across the globe to celebrate the essence of vaka moana and paddle in paradise.
Matson South Pacific strategic development manager and Pacific rugby legend Michael Jones says they are proud to be associated with such an iconic event. “Vaka Eiva brings Cook Islanders and people from around the region to one of the most exciting and invigorating sports in the world, and connects us to our Pacific heritage more than any other popular sport.”
From November 18 to 25 the island of Rarotonga will be transformed into paddling heaven and will see close to 600 paddlers compete over 65 action packed races on the pristine open ocean and lagoon.From its humble beginnings in 2004 the paddling festival has grown over the years to include more than 1000 paddlers – many who have continued to return to the islands for the popular annual event.
Vaka Eiva is arguably the biggest event on the Cook Islands sporting calendar and the inclusion of paddlers from right across the sunny Pacific region, cold snowy regions of Canada and Europe is testament to the events prestigious status. Avarua harbour will be paddling central for the weeklong paddling festival where oe vaka supporters can catch the final leg and sprint finishes of ocean races from the iconic Trader Jacks Bar and Restaurant.
With a ‘Mapu Vaka’ junior division dedicated to developing future toa moana paddlers, Vaka Eiva caters for all ages and paddling ability offering challenging ocean Iron and Marathon races and action packed sprint races for paddlers right up to the golden masters division. It’s not all hard slog on the water though as the sprint races held midweek in the picturesque Muri beach and lagoon is geared around fun and friendship with just as many novelty races as the fast and furious paddling action for sprint supremacy. This is the day paddlers and supporters let their hair down and soak up the sun in between the weeks races.
The ultimate paddling prizes are the coveted ‘Pacific Cup’ and ‘Pacific Paddle’ trophies for the open women and men’s 36km changes race around Rarotonga – a gruelling race not for the faint hearted.Held at the end of the week, the punishing round island race is a spectacular changes races that will see paddlers challenged over various sea conditions as they circumnavigate the island of Rarotonga. Spectators can take in the on water action from the spectator boats or from various look out points along the Rarotonga shoreline.
Woven into the Vaka Eiva fabric are the traditional and spiritual customs of the Cook Islands canoeing culture including traditional vaka blessings and Turou (welcome call).
Off the water – arts, food and cultural festivals will keep the body and soul fuelled and be an eye opening experience for both first time visitors and returning paddlers.
Traditional canoe and carving exhibitions by master carver and vaka voyager Mike Tavioni, Go Local Trade Day markets featuring pure Cook Islands crafts, trips on the double hulled sailing vaka Marumaru Atua will all be part of the laid back activities on offer for elite paddlers.
Matson Vaka Eiva 2016 will be a festival with something for everyone.
Kia orana e kia manuia!.