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Raglan women rise early to challenges

Amorning of challenges – from standup paddleboarding and kayaking to shooting hoops and endurance activities – kept 15 local women on their toes as they competed recently in Raglan’s second Wahine Toa event at Kopua domain and estuary.

It was more about taking time out with like-minded women and “feeling strong” rather than survival of the fittest, says co-organiser Rachel Brown who had to get the domain gates opened early – at 6.30am – so the event could begin on time.

The start at sunrise was “inspiring” in itself, she adds, as six different challenges got under way including two relays – on land and in the water – offset by a quiz and sandcastle building.

“Everybody had an opportunity to do well at something,” Rachel told the Chronicle. Some were rewarded with ‘x factor’ prizes while Kristel Lindfield was overall winner in the tally-up, earning a night’s luxury accommodation donated by Whale Bay’s five-star Waoku Lodge.

Wahine Toa, which translates to “strong women”, had some funding this year from Raglan Lions Club which meant that along with the $30 entry fee – which included for each participant a singlet designed by Atimira’s Nadine Meddings – there was enough to buy prizes and hire equipment from local businesses such as canoes from Raglan Kayak and paddleboards from Raglan Kitesurfing.

“We didn’t want to depend on local businesses to support us – we wanted to support them,” says Rachel, a Raglan resident of five years who commutes to work at Genesis Renewable Energy.

Competitors were treated to lunch – with bubbles – across the estuary at Orca Bar & Restaurant after their action-packed morning. Morning tea in the domain, sponsored by Raglan Roast and Trade Aid, was also provided.

Rachel worked with friend Gabrielle Parson and other volunteers to make this year’s event happen, after doing the same for last year’s inaugural event which followed a similar one held in Auckland. The women were aged from their late 20s up to one 60-year-old, and many had juggled family commitments to be able to take some time out for themselves.

Edith Symes

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