Sanctioning and Waka Ama Event Basics

Events are a fantastic way to promote your Waka Ama club in the community. They are a great opportunity to get more paddlers, parents or anyone involved. Majority of the work for an event is in the planning. Running events can be hard... but done properly they can be easy!

Planning your events

Planning is about deciding what kind of event your club wants, be that; a sprint race, a family fun day, a long distance event etc. There are a number of areas to cover when you are planning and event. Below are a number of simple questions to consider before the day

Volunteers - do you have the right people in the right places? Do you have enough vlunteers to host the event? What areas need volunteers - carparking, safety boats, registration etc
Communication - Can you communicate to the race officials on and off the water at all times? What channel should the radios be on? Have you notified the coastguard?
Safety - Are the conditions safe? Do you have enough support boats? Are there any other events on that day? Where is the nearest hospital? Do you have someone with a current first aid certificate on site? 
Venue - Is the venue suitable? Will the toilet facilities cater for the number of people? Do you need council/iwi approval? Do you have an indoor area for a prizegiving

Equipment - Do you have a printer and WiFi for the day? Do you have start flags, or a loud hailer? Does every support boat have a tow rope - do they know how to use it?

Event organisation - Do you have a registration, safety check and results process


This part of the process is the 'doing'. Ensure you:

  • make the necessary bookings (venue hire, equipment etc)
  • confirm all bookings and arrangements
  • completed sanctioning for the event - this is easy, see flow chart below
  • confirm and allocate volunteers -  it is a good idea to recruit members from your club so everyone is involved

Event Checklist
This lets people know what needs to be done. Don’t forget to put in contact phone numbers for people on the day – see attached example event checklist for a Waka Ama Regatta

Marketing and Promotion

Promote the event through posters or flyers if relevant, the media and social media are useful avenues for promotion that are FREE. Tying your event with a relevant community event can help promote and attract potential new paddlers to the club.

Event Preparation 
On the day of your event remember to:
  • arrive in plenty of time to set-up
  • remember to carry out all safety and sanctioning requirements
  • advise people if there is a change of plan or if you have to revert to the contingency plan because of bad weather
  • Ensure all volunteers and paddlers are briefed before the race
  • Explain emergency procedures
  • Ensure paddlers and spectators are enjoying themselves - people will only return for another year based on their experiences


   Get together and evaluate what worked really well and what could be done better next time. Take the time to review your event      and think about any changes that you could make for the next one. For example:

  •     - What were the successes? 
  •     - How could it be improved? 
  •     - Finally, did the event achieve its goal or purpose? 
    This is also a great time to acknowledge and thank everyone for their efforts.
    Don't forget to report back to Waka Ama NZ as part of the sanctioning process!

Eight steps to Sanctioning your Club Event

Please note: See attached PDF for more detailed information, this guide is for Waka Ama Clubs and Regions only


What do you need to Submit?

  • A completed and signed Sanctioning Form
  • Completed Event Operations and Safety Management Plan (complete with course maps)
  • Draft Participant Waiver
These documents are provided at the bottom of the page - see attached

What level will my event be?

The majority of club events are Level 2. Level 1 sanctioned events are typically more than 500 competitors for a W6 events and 100 for a W1 event - see this link for more information

Who can apply for Sanctioning status?

Our Member Clubs and Regions

Who can apply for Approved Status?

Non-member organisations

What happens once our event gets sanctioned?

You will need to supply us with event panui and information for the website

If you require online entries you will need to supply us with the detail to set these up - Online entries are free and WANZ are happy to provide this service for you

Once our event is sanctioned will it be sanctioned every year?

No, you will need to resubmit sanctioning forms each year when you request a date.

Can someone organise an unsanctioned event?

Yes, however they will not be able to list the event on the website, they will not be covered by our insurance and we will not publish the results. They may also jeopardise the possibility of future sanctioning

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Updated: Jul 25, 2017