Vandals burn waka ama

The three waka ama were burned overnight, and found melted through and covered in ash this morning. - Photo: Supplied

A Waikato-based waka ama club are outraged three of their waka ama or outrigger canoes were set alight overnight and completely destroyed.

The three waka were left unattended near the Tuakau bridge and were found in the early hours of this morning melted through and covered in black ash.

Te Toki Voyaging Trust Club member Pene Cooper says two of the canoes were donated and the third was purchased after months of fundraising.

Pene says the three canoes had been worth about $16,000, but could no longer be used for the upcoming national waka ama competition in January.

"All of our waka whānau know what sort of significance those waka would have meant to us. You have to bless your waka, you name your waka and it's not just any name, usually they are the names of your tūpuna."

Pene says it wasn't uncommon for waka to be vandalised.

"Vandalists sometime put holes in the waka but this just takes the cake."

She says the waka were mainly used by the children who had a number of teams qualified for the national waka ama competition.

"Teams have been getting ready for nationals, and moreso this year because the worlds competition in Tahiti are coming up."

She says there had been no indication of who or what caused the fire.


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