This will be the first World Sprints for the club, which will have two J19 men’s teams and also a J16 women’s team competing.
The J19 men’s team will consist of three paddlers from Team Aitutoa – Calem Katu, Plumber Nicholls and Gordon Tom, and three paddlers from Team Maputoa – Joel Tamati, Caleb Putairi and Weslee Vainikolo.
Team Aitutoa is coached by Junior Tamati and the paddlers are Gordon Tom, Ioane Tom, Calem Katu, Paula Sukanaivalu, Plumber Nicholls and Tyronne Munokoa.
Team Maputoa is coached by Terangi Tamati in New Zealand with the Cook Islands Outriggers Association. The paddlers in this team include Joel Tamati, Caleb Putairi, Teariki Mata, Tangianau Kokaua, Jemiah Teariki and Weslee Vainikolo.
Team Purotu O Te Moana is coached by Junior Pauka, managed by Tea Pauka and the paddlers include Danika Thompson, Emily Mitchell, Teina Pauka, Tekira Pua, Ashley Williams and Kaiah Arona.
Te Tupu o te Manava and Te Mana o Utataki will also be competing in the open and senior masters women’s divisions.
Aitutaki Oe Vaka Club would like to thank their sponsors Air Rarotonga, especially Ewan Smith, Sarah Mooreland and Teariki Numanga, and the Bank of the South Pacific, especially David Street (Cook Islands CEO), Rose Henry (Aitutaki Branch) and Tokoa Harmon (Rarotonga Branch), for their sponsorship.
The club also thanks Vaikoa Beach Units and Mama Kaungake Henry, Raelene and George Drollet for their continuous support and sponsorship.
“We also wish to thank our New Zealand-based sponsors for our Team Purotu O Te Moana – Charmeyne Te Nana-Williams, Mark Bower AXIOM Projects, Russell Gordon Contracting, Uprite Access System, Jaine and Mick Currin and Greyman Solution, and John Papalii.
“Special aroa and thanks to Teina and Johnny Taulu for your support and the family at the Rakahanga hostel for hosting us. Finally, a big meitaki atupaka to all our family and friends in Araura Enua and Araura College.”
The Aitutaki Oe Vaka Club will be staying at the Atiu Quarter Hostel in Patutoa, Tahiti during the competition.