Our Story

Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to Mangawhai Waka Ama.

Our club was established in late 2016 and is the outrigger canoe club for the east coast of the Kaipara District and based on the estuary at Mangawhai.

From our humble beginnings we have grown from strength to strength, now having over 50 members, a club storage container/base and club equipment.

Mangawhai Waka Ama caters for all ages and abilities – from those who wish to paddle competitively to social paddlers, from novices to the elite who train to compete at national and international levels.

The club is also open to facilitating paddling opportunities for a range of community, business and school groups.


Our fun and supportive club caters for all those who wish to paddle, from competitive to social paddlers, novices to the elite who train to compete at national and international events.


Having fun is important to us as well as to maintaining a supportive, inclusive club whānau. We have regular picnics, BBQs as well as heading away to waka ama events together.


We help to facilitate paddling opportunities for a range of community, business and school groups. We are passionate about getting people into this fun and healthy sport.

Mangawhai Waka Ama Base

Mangawhai Waka Ama is based on the Mangawhai estuary at the end of Mangawhai Heads Road (next to the camping ground / holiday park) Mangawhai Heads.

Our Mission and Values

Mangawhai Waka Ama supports the Mission and Values of Ngā Kaihoe of Aotearoa (the governing body of Waka Ama).


To lead the development, practice and promotion of the sport and culture of Waka Ama and to provide the opportunity for residents to enjoy being on the sea.



We encourage the practice of reciprocity through sharing of ourselves and our resources, nurturing all people and accepting our differences;


Is our sense of belonging, identification and collective strength, not only through kinship but being related to all within the Waka Ama community;


We support and promote the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all our participants; and

Tu Tangata:

We are accountable for our actions. We have respect for each other, our waka and our environment. We stand proud in our integrity and passion.

The Waka Ama revival in NZ started in 1981:

In 1981 Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell observed Waka Ama racing in Tahiti, became inspired, and the seed was sown for a revival of Waka Ama in Aotearoa.

In 1985, Mareikura Canoe Club was founded and in 1986 Okahu Bay Canoe Club was formed in Auckland. From these humble beginnings the national body, Nga Kaihoe o Aotearoa, has grown into an organisation with six regions and over 80 clubs totalling 5, 178 members, spreading from Kaitaia to Riverton in the deep south. There are an estimated 10,000 additional paddlers who are not registered members.

The week-long National Championships now consistently attracts upwards of 2,000 competitors. In addition, Waka Ama is also the fastest growing team sport in secondary schools.

Paddlers range from 7 to over 70 and, although predominantly of Māori and Pacific Island ethnicity, Waka Ama includes paddlers from very diverse ethnic backgrounds. The sport offers a unique whānau atmosphere allowing parents, grandparents, children and mokopuna to all paddle at the same event.