Friday, December 12

Vaka Eiva Round Raro Relay

Vaka Eiva is well and truly over for this year and the local paddlers are taking a rest after their exertions. Next year will be a competitive time for those wanting to be in the South Pacific Mini Games teams in September as well as the 2009 Vaka Eiva.
The video is from the final race of the series, the Pacific Cup which, in spite of the less than gripping name, is regarded as the grand prix of the festival.
The vaka gathered at the boiler for the start and then paddled clockwise around the island for two to three hours until they reached Avarua harbour and the Trader Jack’s finish line. Every now and again on the way, crewmen (and women) jump out of the boat which slows a trifle while new, fresh paddlers climb aboard. Each vaka has its own support boat carrying the spare crew members. In fact the number of available support vessels is the limiting factor on how many canoes can take part in the festival.
This year the women’s race was won by a crew from Tahiti, regular visitors Tahiti RuaHine, who blitzed the opposition and finished in 2 hours 51 minutes 54 seconds, smashing the previous fastest time of 2:59:50.
Local boys Ngakau Toa Vaka 1 pulled off a surprise win over favourites Moana O Kiva (CI/Australia) also in a new course record of 2:34:19.
The weather wasn’t the greatest for spectators, squally showers, but it doesn’t seem to have been a problem for the paddlers.
For some really awesome photos and video of Vaka Eiva 2008 check out Harvey Allison’s website ( and Ian (Rambo) Newland’s blog (