Pasefika team from N.Z. leaves mark

A warm Tuesday afternoon with calm waters provided the scenery for the long distance races of the Vailima Alo Paopao Festival, yesterday.

One of the races was the masters long distance race featuring six teams.

They included Moana Gals, Vaai Lau Foe, Pasefika team from Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Ururoa/Hikoikoi, Koa Kai, Hikoikoi and Te Tai Tonga.

The Pasefika team from Aotearoa took first place.

Team captain, Tim Tapsell, was naturally elated. 

 “We have loved everything so far,” he said. 

“This is the fourth time we’ve participated in the Alo Paopao Festival and every year we have enjoyed it and had a really good time.”

For Tapsell and the team, paddling is not the only goal.

“It’s been good paddling and a good holiday. We have met some amazing people, and we made good friends and lifelong friends here with the Vailima Alo Paopao organising committee.”

Tapsell added that it’s not easy to organise such events.

 “This kind of event never ceases to go perfectly when organising it, but the Vailima Alo Paopao Committee has done it better and better every year in hosting this event. I am hoping for more paddlers to compete because it’s a great event.”

As for yesterday’s victory, Tapsell said he was pleased with the effort.

 “We’re a masters team, we also have a mixed team. We’re unfortunate this year not to get a mens team, but we’ve got a good team. 

“We’re mostly from the Auckland and Hamilton regions, we used to paddle against each other but we have to paddle together here for our team.”

Tapsell credited the good warm weather conditions for their good outing. 

“It was perfect, warm and the soft wind was nice.”

There were some interesting highlights from yesterday.

The first race was delayed due to a container ship leaving the wharf. 

When round two started, another fishing vessel crossed in to the racing zone.

But it was all fun .

And Tapsell did not mind.

“Today, finally we came on top in the first race. We’re so excited about the result and congratulations to all the teams today.”

The Vailima Alo Paopao resumes today.

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