Notice regarding incident at Regionals 2021

Following the conclusion of the Hoe Tonga Regional Sprint Champ Championship 2021, the Hoe Tonga Board was made aware of a claim that a paddler that was not fully vaccinated competed in one of the events.

In response, Hoe Tonga undertook an investigation into this matter, and it can be confirmed that such incident took place.

The Hoe Tonga Board deliberated on this matter, and notes the following: 

  • Hoe Tonga, as a condition of entry to our Regional Sprint Championship 2021, required  paddlers to be double vaccinated (and such requirement is enabled under Hoe Tonga’s  constitution, refer rule 6.1). Clubs, coaches and paddlers were made aware of this  requirement through various race notices (eg website, social media posts) and also through an explicit statement in the event waiver form. This is in addition to nation-wide media coverage on the new traffic light system, and publicised mandatory vaccination requirements for events with more than 100 participants. 
  • As the mandatory vaccination requirement was very new, and had not yet been  implemented at any other waka ama event, Hoe Tonga undertook its best efforts to give  effect to the new requirement by requiring paddlers to show their vaccine passes when  signing in, and receiving a wrist band that would be required to enter a designed event  area. It is now clear that there were some shortcomings in Hoe Tonga’s processes and  systems. Hoe Tonga is compiling lessons learnt from that experience, in order to improve on our future events. 
  • Hoe Tonga’s events are run largely on a trust-based approach, ie we do not have the  resources to implement various checks that are in place at the National Waka Ama Sprint  Championships to ensure compliance (eg ID checks via scanners at loading bay, etc). As  a result, Hoe Tonga is able to run its events with significantly lower costs, albeit this does  imply that we rely on clubs and paddlers to do the right thing, and to be aware of all relevant event requirements. 

Under rule 6.1 of Hoe Tonga’s Constitution, the Board can impose sanctions and penalties in relation to someone acting contrary to Hoe Tonga’s rules and requirements, and Waka Ama New Zealand (WANZ) rules, requirements, and expectations (including the WANZ Code of Conduct).

The Hoe Tonga Board considers that the lack of full vaccination is a serious matter, and it has made the decision to suspend the affiliation, for one full year, of two people in relation to this incident. This means that they are unable to compete at waka ama events during that time, as participation requires paddlers to be affiliated. The affected club and paddlers have been notified of Hoe Tonga’s decision. 

W1 Race Results

Massive congratulations to all the paddlers that made the trip to Henley Lake yesterday. It was awesome to see around 80 paddlers from around our region turn up to race. We appreciate all the efforts made by clubs to keep support numbers down due to the Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions.

A shout out to all our volunteers and officials for a well run event, from set up to pack down, start line to finish line, safety boats, admin and loading bay. You all were amazing and contributed to the day running to schedule.

Please see all race results here

We will have an announcement on the team events scheduled for 11-12 December as soon as possible, we appreciate your patience.

New dates for Hoe Tonga Regionals 2021 and new COVID requirements

Kia hiwa ra, kia hiwa ra!

Ko te aronga matua o Hoe Tonga, ko te oranga tangata. Haere, e whai i te waewae ā o tātou tīpuna, kia ora ai te tangata. Ko ngā kupu tohutohu i a mātou: mahia te mahi, hei painga mo te iwi.

Ko tā mātou, me pēhea te ngā whakamua i enei wā poraruraru, tutuki ai o rātou wawata. Ko te whakataunga e whai ake nei, he mahi e tautoko ana i ngā mahi hei arai atu te mate urutā. Ano nei, ko te aronga matua, kia ora ai te tangata.

Kia mau ki nga kupu a kui ma, a koro ma: rauhītia, manaakitia, honohonoa, tatou ki a tatou ano.

E te iwi, kia haumaru te noho.

Hoe Tonga is committed to hosting safe and enjoyable Regional Sprint Champs leading up to the Waka Ama Nationals and World Sprint Champs in 2022. However, the situation with the Delta outbreak in Aotearoa remains a concern. We have a duty of care for our region’s paddlers and whānau and would like to ensure that we protect everyone from the spread of COVID-19.

After considering all the information about COVID-19 and taking into account the traffic light system announced by the NZ Government, the Board of Hoe Tonga has made the decision to mandate double vaccinations of paddlers for all Hoe Tonga events going forward.

Under the new traffic light system, no event with more than 100 participants would be able to go ahead unless participants are fully vaccinated. In addition, while the World Sprint Champs in London are still scheduled to go ahead, they will require all paddlers to be fully vaccinated.

Therefore, we want to start gearing up our waka ama community to meet these criteria. For our future events, we will have a ‘no jab, no paddle’ policy, requiring all participants 12 years or older to be fully vaccinated to be eligible to participate. If those paddlers are not fully vaccinated, they will not be eligible to participate in Hoe Tonga events, or be able to qualify for the Waka Ama Nationals through the Hoe Tonga regional events. For our upcoming Regional Sprint Champs, if official vaccination certificates via the NZ Government are not yet in place,  we will be asking all paddlers 12 years or older (and also the volunteers that assist in the running of the events) to confirm they are fully vaccinated by way of our event liability forms. More information on this will be released in the coming weeks.

Importantly, if you have not had your vaccination yet, there is still time. With the minimum 3-week gap between the first and second shot, paddlers can be fully vaccinated in time for our Regionals.

Our decision was not made lightly as everyone has the right to make a personal choice and we would like to respect each individual decision. However, we have received enough guidance and direction to pursue our course of action. We want to minimise the risk of paddlers and whanau being exposed to or potentially spreading COVID-19. Vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to protect your whānau against COVID-19. High vaccination rates protect our whole community, including those who can’t be vaccinated for medical and age reasons. We all need to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We have included below a list of common questions related to our stance on vaccinations.

In addition to the new vaccination requirement, our Board has also decided to adjust the dates for our two regional events. This is to give us more time to achieve the 90% vaccination rate across NZ, and increases the likelihood of our W6 event being able to go ahead:

  • W1 races: now held on 27 November
  • W6/W12 races: now held on 11/12 December

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still paddle in the region if I am not vaccinated?

You can still paddle for your own club and in your own time but not in Hoe Tonga sanctioned events as there is a risk of you being exposed and or potentially exposing others to COVID-19.

How does the entry system work for paddlers?

All entries will require paddlers to sign a form to confirm that they have been vaccinated. If you have not signed the form you will not be eligible to enter into any events organised by Hoe Tonga.

If you have not been vaccinated to date, is it still possible to enter the upcoming Regional Sprint Champs?

There is enough time to get double vaccinated in time for our upcoming Regionals.

Where can I get more information about the vaccine?

Go to FAQs: Doctors Stand Up For Vaccination.

Where can I get General Government information and updates?

Go to Unite against COVID-19.

New Regional Development Officer: Megan Qaranivalu

Hoe Tonga’s Board is pleased to announce our new Regional Development Officer:
Megan Qaranivalu.

Megan is based in Otaki, and is also an active member of Otaki Waka Hoe. She says: “Over the last six years I have fallen in love with waka ama and its lifestyle. I am enthusiastic, passionate and excited about the potential of Waka Ama in the region and the possibility of further growth.” 

She is looking forward to working with existing clubs, school co-ordinators and the different communities throughout the Hoe Tonga region to see how we as a collective can work together to achieve access to more programmes, development opportunities and the formations of new clubs in underserviced areas. 

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Certificate in Waka Level 4 programme

The Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Certificate in Waka Level 4 programme is delivered within the Hoe Tonga region in Masterton under the leadership of our very own Paddy Rimene.

Join in the “Waka, a way of life” and commence your journey today!

You will learn about:

  • Māori nautical history
  • traditional and contemporary waka
  • waka construction
  • weather interpretation
  • Coastguard Boating Education Day Skipper qualification
  • tikanga, karakia and waiata
  • water survival competency
  • event management
  • health and nutrition
  • And much more

All guided by the expertise of an Elite Waka Ama Paddler.

To secure your seat in the Waka for March 2021, contact Paddy today on 0800-355553 or email

Hoe Tonga Secondary School Regional Sprint Championships 2021


  • Host: Hoe Tonga Pacifica Waka Ama Association
  • Venue: Onepoto, Porirua
  • When: Saturday, 13 March 2021 (reserve day is 14 March)
  • Divisions: J19, J16, Year 7/8
  • Entries closed on 5 March 2021

Key information


  • There are no refunds for entries after the entry cut-off date where paddlers choose not to race or show up on race day (even if invoices have not yet been received, or schools have not yet settled relevant entry fees).
  • Entries are to be done via each school (for secondary schools through the school sports coordinators; for intermediate schools directly with Hoe Tonga)

Questions? Email

This event is brought to you by Hoe Tonga and College Sport Wellington.