15 Mar 2013

Waikato River waka regatta full steam ahead

6:43 am on 15 March 2013

A significantly low Waikato River won't stop the Turangawaewae Regatta from going ahead.

The event begins on Friday with school crew dugout canoe races, followed by Saturday's main event in which at least seven waka paddle along the river.

The regatta is celebrating its 118th year and the lack of rain has members of Turangawaewae saying the river is the lowest they've seen it in about 50 years.

Previously, dams have been opened to make the river wider to allow a parade of waka taua (war canoes) to paddle three abreast.

Instead the waka will travel nose to tail.

The regatta is held to encourage and preserve Waikato-Tainui culture and traditions and customary activities on the river.