Manurewa High School shone at the Waka Ama Junior Auckland Champs held on Saturday at Orakei Basin, coming home with many shiny medals and the top school award for outstanding attitude and sportsmanship.
40 year 9 and 10 students made up 15 teams.  Only three students from the 2012 squad were in this year's squad, meaning a new group with little or no previous paddling experience.
Coach Ms Martene said the students underwent six weeks of "probably some of the most grueling trainings these kids have ever done before.  We decided to focus on land training, knowing we wouldn’t be able to make up the vast difference in water trainings some other schools get with having the likes of club paddlers and / or kids who see paddling as their number 1 sport."
None of the students as yet focus purely on Waka Ama or call Waka Ama their first choice sport, so emphasis was placed on building the whole package rather than just water-based skills.

Ms Martene admits she thought two or three crews would potentially be top three contenders in their grade, but "others completely shocked me with the level of competitiveness and determination to push harder when it was needed, taking into consideration how novice they all were."

W6 Boys Division 1 Champ Final – 3rd
W12 Division 2 Champ Final – 1st
W12 Division 2 Champ Final – 3rd
W6 Boys Division 2 Champ Final – 4th
W6 Boys Division 2 Champ Final – 5th
W6 Girls Division 2 Champ Final – 1st
W6 Girls Division 2 Champ Final – 3rd
W6 Girls Division 2 Champ Final – 6th
W6 Mixed Division 2 Champ Final – 1st
W6 Mixed Division 2 Champ Final – 3rd
W6 Mixed Division 2 Champ Final – 5th

Ms Martene's outstanding achievers:
Division 1 W6 boys team whom had only two students from last year’s junior team was the measure of heart of the day.
Our steerer had to withdraw due to injury leaving us with two options, ask College Sport if we could have a year 11 steerer join the crew and only steer with no paddling leaving the crew with 5 paddlers versus everyone else’s 6 or enter the team into Division 2.  Thankfully College Sport gave us dispensation to compete in Division 1.  We knew it would be exceptionally hard to compete with only 5 paddlers and we were pushing to at best make the Champ final but with a few tweaks and some honest hard work the boys came away with 3rd in the Division 1 champ final, 3 seconds off first place. We couldn’t have been more proud of the boys.
Outstanding paddlers:
Telelina Crichton, Mosese Teuhema and Niko Moala who were all completely determined to succeed and paved the way for the lesser experienced paddlers to achieve also.
Ms Martene gives special thanks to the senior students for their support at trainings and on race day, and to squad manager Maggie Silva.