A grant of $8,800 towards helmets and lifejackets will enable adult and junior paddlers at the Palmerston North Canoe Club (PNCC) to train and compete with brand new safety equipment.
The funding is hugely important to the club. Not only does it assure the safety and confidence of its members, but it will allow club funds to be directed to other important areas of the club. The grant also means reduced pressure on club members to cover the cost of equipment, meaning they can direct finances towards travel and accommodation for various tournaments and training camps in New Zealand and internationally.
“We were super happy to receive the email from NZCT saying that all the funding had been approved,” says Club Secretary Anne Cairns. “Across all disciplines, ages and paddler levels it is hugely important to have safety equipment that is user friendly, fitting and fit for purpose.”
PNCC has a wide age range in its membership, from young children through to older people. Children from as young as four and five years old come paddling recreationally with their whānau. At the other end of the age spectrum, members in their sixties and seventies paddle for fitness and enjoyment, particularly through the summer months.
Paddle sports are popular in Palmerston North and the club is a huge part of enabling the community to participate in them. “Our club offers a range of canoeing and kayaking options, despite the fact that we are based at a small water venue. There is multisport kayaking, flatwater sprint, slalom, kayak polo, waka ama, and recreational canoe and kayak use on the lagoon and the river,” says Anne.
For a small club, PNCC has a long history of individual and team success. The men's kayak polo team are the current national champions with some of these players also being in the New Zealand team. One club member is a top national waka ama paddler and white-water raft racer and has represented New Zealand at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “For a humble little club, we have a number of members who punch above their weight! The club has a proud history of top-level paddlers, names such as Tom Dooney, Ian Ferguson and Owen Hughes are some very well-known paddlers who have been part of PNCC at one time or another,” says Anne.