Inspired Series – Pineapple Lumps Road To World Sprints Tahiti

A little about the Pineapple Lumps – Hei Matau J16s Boys

I had to have a chat with their manager about the boys and their view on life and paddling, as they are hard at the mahi.
We would like to sincerely give thanks to everyone that is behind this awesome sport of ours, and for the support!  Here is a collection of korero from all of the boys which was gathered along our journey so far….

Why Pineapple Lumps?
It was about the club colours – Hei Matau Paddlers have a nice yellow as the main club colour…….so, bright yellow and um dark brown young men = Pineapple Lumps in reverse 😀


The photo from back standing left are: Whareporera Hare-Herbert Maunganui Hawe Te Aho Paenga Nelson Ulale Ihaka Taka-Brown Tahuaroa (Tama) White Sitting front left: Mokonuiarangi Edmonds Taihakoa Teepa Autahi Leonard


What drives you to do your best?
• Making our whanau, coach and club proud, being good tuakana to the up and comers
• Making my Mum proud
• Being on the water makes me chill
• It’s helped me learn to commit to something and see it through no matter how hard it gets
• For the brothers
• Mahia e tona ringa, tino kai, tino makona – satisfaction comes from doing the mahi with your own sweat
Who are your guys paddle idols?
• Ray Timihou (Uncle/Coach)
• Aunty Yvonne Rogers
• Uncle Jordan Edmonds
• Tupu King and Kevin Jerusalemy
• Nona Taute Hohepa
• Paul Roozendaal, Manaaki Te Kowhai and Tyrin Thomas
• Bradley Anderson
• Kimi Taliuli

What are your top tips for paddling?
• Find the fun bumps!
• Do the techniques good. Basics
• Don’t fly the ama in a 6-man 😀
• Mo te hemo tonu atu! Leave it all out there!

Whakatauki – What are your favourite mantras?
• “Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe”
• Mahi Mahi Mahi
• Be a hard worker because you’ll achieve your goals
• Me raupā ō ringa kia ao mai ō wawata- ‘With hard work and dedication, you will reach your goals’
• Ko te mea tuatahi ka tika, ka tika ko te mea tuatahi… First we’ll be our best, then we’ll be first..

See you in Tahiti! Thanks Hiria


A big mihi to Maria Ngawati for hustling the boys to get this and to the boys themselves for sharing.   Its been awesome watching their journey and all the mahi they are putting in on and off the water from training to fundraising.  Wishing you all the best in Tahiti, but know that we are all proud because of what you have contributed and how you have all grown through this campaign.

If you would like to stay up to date with their progress go and check out their facebook page.

As always sharing is caring whanau so pass this on to anyone else you think needs a little inspiration.


Hiria xx

#beyourbest #roadtotahitiworldsprints #hardwork


P.S.  Want your team to feature in the series? Drop me an email and share your story and a pic


The toughest paddlers are the ones who carry on…..


Feeling ripped off because the early mornings,   the endless hours, sweat, tears, all seem like a waste of time when you don’t perform on the day?

Then there are the disagreements with friends and family.  When you get a setback or don’t do well they say, “you were training too hard anyway, maybe you should take a break”.

Don’t let their disappointment and fear bring you down.  Yes, they mean well, but seriously,  it’s a projection of their stuff and not being able to handle it, not yours.

The toughest paddlers are the ones who carry oneven when it seems like everything is against them.  Because they understand the importance of failure and its potential to help you up level.  Mentally tough paddlers are those who build resilience.

And that’s exactly where my strengths lie, in helping you to build your resilience, manage  overwhelm, anxiety and fear to make them work for you not against you.Its about learning to work with those emotions, not shutting them off.

A really quick way to start turning around how you respond to setbacks is to check your language.

What words do you say to yourself when you haven’t met your own expectations?  If its negative, then reframe it to build yourself back up.

I have a really great debrief tool to help put things in perspective after a race if it doesn’t go as planned and to help improve for next time.  Drop me an email if you would like a copy free.  YES, please send me a free debrief tool.

If you need an extra helping hand here are two ways you can work with me;

  1. learn online with a virtual training course – Learn more
  2. explore coaching, mentorship, and paddle community support – Tell me more!

Remember, feel the emotion, and then decide what you can do next to improve.

Thanks for reading my little blog, its been random lately but I am making it a priority to get back into it.  Its one of those key learnings for me trying to balance my passion as a coach and training myself!

Hiria xx


If anything in here resonates with you please jump on my facebook page and drop a comment, or share with someone you think needs to hear it.

Or have a question? #askhiria and DM on my instagram account


Whats really holding you back from being your best self on the water?

Not many people like to confront their fears, because they already know the answer and are purposely ignoring or resisting it.

This is where all troubles begin.  And its this stuff that blocks you (subconsciously) on the water.

From this point we create stories to keep us safe and protect ourselves in our little bubble.

Eventually we wake up one day, realise we have hardly any mates, or the ones we do have just don’t do it for you, you are in a place you can’t stand and a job you hate.

All because you turned away your true feelings because you were too afraid to deal with it.

That’s why I’m here.

To call you out.  And walk through it with you.

I’m not about massaging your ego…. I want you to make the real gains because I know it will have such an impact on your life and in return, on others therefore leading to a happier more peaceful world, the DREAM.

Sometimes you need that one person in your life who will give it to you straight.  I ask you the tough questions and also give you the tough answers.

Here are some real questions from real people who I have had to answer.


“No matter how hard I try to be uplifting and motivating I just can’t get any more out of my crew, and there is one person in particular that manages to undermine some of the women’s progress. Our coach is pretty great and does his best but we just don’t improve no matter what he tries or how he trains us.  I find I am really starting to struggle with this and am losing the love of it.”

Ok, I can totally understand where you are because I’ve been there and experience this every now and then with my role at our club.
It’s a decision you have to make based on your values.

Here’s some advice I gave my hubby who was struggling with something that didn’t sit with him too, it may help.

Every time you do or participate in something that does not align with you, your values, your health, your truth – you lose a piece of your soul.

Sounds dramatic but it’s true. You end up doing things for others that don’t fill your cup first and we can never serve our best when we are not our best.
Do what feels right for you.
It will feel scary like you are cutting everyone out but you know deep down the answer. Doesn’t mean it’s forever.


“So keen to know how u deal with it and I think I might be the hater tho…. How much is too much talking in the waka ? Cause I find constructive is fine, but to much be more than 1 person continuous for long paddles gets me worked up… I’m and ova thinking so I try to calm my mind and quiet it down in the 1st couple of km to warm into to the feel of it but I’ve been battling with this because of all the talking in the waka I’m not able to hit the zone it’s frustrating and I’m pissed because I can’t shut them out…”

Kia ora ehoa. I hear you on the talking in the waka.  There really needs to be a conversation around this prior to taking to the water so everyone knows the expectation and impact talking has on motivating paddlers.   It basically comes down to what works best for the crew.  Have a good conversation around it, not just a yep no kind of one.  For yourself, its more about looking into what is it that winds you up so much. Is it a particular person, voice, or words? See if it’s pushing your buttons in any other way too just to make sure that it isn’t just you being a hater. Said with lots of love x


In my element, nek minnit

My question is…. the crew dynamic, I thought, was really dependant on how you bond off the water, pre race and post race. But in the moment when 1 person has had the negativity and poured it onto crew (during race) by making remarks such come on they bloody passed us or 3 you’re not pulling! I get they are frustrated. My thinking is I need to be more encouraging, talk to them, ask for the little things in a way not shrieking at them. However after the race I’m always the bad guy, the other person not pulled up, 4 of the 6 crew agree with the negative person, I feel belittled to the point I no longer paddle since moving. How do you pick yourself up from that? It wasn’t one race it was at least 4 races. It took my joy from paddling 😞 how do I come back from that?

Ok, so first things first, we can’t change people, no matter hard we try.   It’s an uphill battle and honestly you should not be wasting your time.  I believe this is a part that is always overlooked in crews for paddling, well waka ama at least. There needs to be a conversation on what makes paddlers tick, some need that aggressive push while others need calming down. This is why we end up with tension in the crew under pressure. It’s sad that it got to this point for you. Its something a good coach encourages…. but if its paddlers coaching that can be hard too. It’s a huge culture shift that needs to happen as we shift from social paddling to competition… You are so not alone in your story and I’m hoping that by being able to talk about all this your experience and story will help change that culture… when you have clarity from the start, expectations, on same page the crew are then able to deal with this stuff…. Just know that it wasn’t all your fault….

“Hiria, what’s your tips for dealing with crap going on amongst paddlers in the club. It’s hard to cut them loose but it’s hard to put up with the rubbish talk and the know it all – I try to stay mutual but that sometimes is harder because you seem to become everyone’s go to person. Basically I fee like I need to trust the crew.  I want to be part of the solution not the problem.”

This is such a common question I get asked. And its tough. I always come back to yourself. Because that is all you have control over.  What is your definition of mutual?  Do you mean by saying you are not taking sides, or by saying nothing at all?  Check your behaviour, your energy, your judgements.   Make sure you are not part of the problem. By allowing yourself to be present when the trash talk is happening and not speaking up to it, you are encouraging it.  This is something that needs to be put in its spot as it happens.  It’s a hard one but the more you do it the easier it gets.  Don’t worry about any judgements other people may or may not make against you.  At the end of the day, you know what is right and what is not, thats all that matters.

I’m starting my MAY Intake of The Outrigger Boot camp later in the month and are looking for ten paddlers to join me.

Over the 8 weeks I will work with helping you see and believe what you truly are capable of doing by sharing my daily strategies and hacks for mindset, technique and life.

If you are serious about making change, then you need to change something.  ‘If you are ready to go all in, then drop me an email or PM me.

Hiria xx

Not convinced? Check out what one of my past paddlers said about the boot camp,

“I signed up for Boot camp mindset for paddlers, rather nervously I might add (this is Hiria after all) and thought I might not make it all the way through the Bootcamp physical side of things, but I came out the end of the eight or so weeks with so much, so many gains lol and a loss. 4.5kg that I didn’t need has gone and that’s just the beginning. The past eight weeks with Hiria has opened my eyes, my mind, my heart even more, and my waka whanau connection. Any wander why I love this sport. Thank you Hiria for my growth in all things waka. Love to you girl, you Rock”

P.S If anything in here has resonated with you please share as you may be doing some else a favour by doing so.

P.S.S If you had an aha moment, Id love to hear about it.  drop me a PM or if you have the courage share it to my facebook page.

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Hiria Rolleston on insta – follow my journey to make every stroke count by affirming my whakapapa, connection to people, places and things.

Drop me an Email to book your spot on the bootcamp x





A little about Ash

I had to have a wee chat with his mum Raanj about this.  In short, Ash started paddling when he could hold a paddle.  And did his first sprint nationals at the age of five years old.  He has a pretty impressive paddling, and sports resume.  Just facebook stalk him or google him to find out more lol.

What drives you to do your best?

The thought of making my family/friends proud of my achievements and to become better than the day before

Whats your approach to training? and Race day?

My approach to training is dependent on time because I work random hours.  I don’t have a big ritual for training or racing.  My approach to a race will be just making sure I am ready and knowing what I need to do.

Is there anything you are afraid of and if yes how do you deal with it?

Not that I know of just yet haha

What are your top 3 tips for performing at your best?

My 3 tips are pretty basic and everyone should know them.

1. Focus on technique a lot.

2. Train smart not hard

3. Have fun with it


It’s not easy talking about oneself so thanks Ash for having the courage to share what you have.

I remember Ash doing the James Moore Memorial 35km coast run when he was about  about 14 or 15 years old.  I wasn’t actually paddling in waka then, I was still surfing and doing the SUP circuit.

I have seen him paddle his was through the ranks as a really strong junior paddler to opens where he was challenged even further.  He also does Crossfit and many people said he couldn’t do both.  From the outside his transition into Opens looked pretty tough, as the level of competition was crazy.  But this year Ash proved all the naysayers wrong and made podium in both the 250m Premiere Mens Dash and 500m sprints earning himself a spot in the Premiere V1 at world sprints in Tahiti this coming July.

Way to smash your goals Ash.  keep doing what you are doing.  you are inspiring so many of us to keep pushing too.

If anything in here resonated with you drop him a message or thanks for sharing.

Hiria x


Remember to stay in the loop ‘like’ and follow my social media pages and subscribe to this blog.  Thanks for the support whanau.

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me

INSPIRED SERIES – Go hundy, or go home! With Marama Elkington


For those who don’t know me, normally I’m just an idiot.  I joke around at practically everything, and I’m always laughing or smiling.  But when it comes to racing I take it serious.

I go into what I like to call race mode.  It starts from when I wake to after my races are finished.  Everything I do during the day has a purpose, which keeps my focus on racing and winning.


Throughout race days and the week before I hydrate as much as I can, making sure to drink at least 4 Litres per day.  I cut out takeaways, idea cream and all the bad stuff leading up to a big event.  Recently I tried a diet and frick those are hard, but it works so I endorse them I guess.

Come race week I eat depending on my races.  When I have a long wait  between races I usually eat a lot.  If my races are soon I snack on carbs or glucose.  The same goes for sleeping.  If I have the time I have a long nap.

Otherwise I’m always lying down in the shade relaxing, not expending my energy walking around or in the sun.  during the day I’m usually quiet.

I observe the weather conditions, starting flags, race calls, and other things pertaining to racing.


WINNERS Premiere women 250m Dash NZ Waka Ama Sprints Nationals 2018. From left to right: silver medal Kiwi Campbell, Gold medal Marama Elkington, Bronze medal Cory Campbell



In the loading bay I don’t like to talk because I think it takes away from my focus on my race.  I make it a point of always giving a high-five to the other competitors from my race after racing.

I thinks its good to always do this no matter where you come, just to show respect.

Post race I stretch down, and roll out my muscles with a roller or massaging ball.  Then relax, eat, and repeat for my other races.


“go hungry or go home” is my motto that I abide by.  That’s something I like to install even in my midget team that I coach.  If they much around and don’t go hard at trainings they get sent home.

Training is like studying, and racing is like final exams.  I give myself 100% each time I train, and am always pushing myself to do better.  I always aim to win and better myself when I train, so i stop only when the last person has stopped, and then I keep going.  I like to push my mind and body to their limits, because I know that doing so will make me stronger.  Like everyone says no pain no gain.


when it comes to fear and racing I don’t think I have it.  Big races like Aito, or Nationals don’t scare me, but there’s always nerves.

The same thing goes for going up against fierce competition.  I think of my competitors as a gauge that illustrates what level I am at.

I know they are going to be great, so I try to just focus on myself and the strengths I bring to racing.

I used to fear the ocean and huge surf, but the more I went out on it the more fun IO had.  Other than that rough conditions don’t scare me also, because it’s basically like that everyday here in Porirua.  I think if anything I doubt myself when I race.

An example would be thinking maybe I can’t execute my race strategy properly, and that hindering my performance.

However at the end of the day I just get over it.

Go out there and do what I came here to do.


  • Sleep well the night before
  • Eat heaps the night before
  • Don’t worry about others, focus on yourself
  • Have good support people and family
  • Train with like-minded, and same or better fitness levels as yourself
  • Be limber


It takes a lot of courage to step up and share your secrets so a big mihi to Marama for doing so.  As I have said before I really admire Marama’s worth ethic and down to earth personality and have watched her grow into a beautiful, talented wahine and role model for not only our younger paddlers but also us older ones who tend to think we know it all.  Keep doing what you are doing Marama.  You are lifting our paddling community as well as yourself.

If you had a light bulb moment from this piece please head over to the facebook page and share.  You never know you comment may just create some great discussion or resonate with someone else.

Remember to stay in the loop ‘like’ and follow my social media pages and subscribe to this blog.  Thanks for the support whanau.

Kia u ki te hoe, Keep paddling,

Hiria x

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me


How to go from ‘good’ to great’ – a standout from NZ Waka ama sprints

I always knew that sprint nationals was going to be hard this year, especially with World sprints qualifiers for Tahiti.

It made for an exceptional week of paddling at Lake Karapiro that’s for sure.

Initially I was pretty disappointed with my performance not making the level I expected to, but I have seen some huge gains in my overall journey and am happy with that, for now.

One key idea I picked up on that I wasn’t doing is this:


I don’t mean be that ‘ugly’ guy, or gal out there on the water but be more proactive, assertive and forceful.

Look around at all the top paddlers, what is one thing they have in common? Yep its their aggressiveness on the water. One of my favourite paddlers is Marama Elkington, she knows how to own her space and her motto  “Go hard or go home is perfect”.  And that’s exactly what she did in her 250m Dash race taking out the gold.  Way to make a comeback!


Marama Elkington Champion 250m Dash National Waka Ama Sprints 2018

Some paddlers are naturally aggressive and others aren’t.  I’m not so much and when I used to fight (in Taekwondo) I would always have to get a hit to the head first to switch me on.  Then my eyes would glaze over and it was all on!!!  But, you want to be able to go in with confidence and feeling great so the key is to find that switch before you hit the water.

How do you get an AGGRESSIVE mindset?

Get amped up before you paddle.  Be more dynamic in your movements, more urgent and commit to what you are doing.  Listening to music is another way top paddlers get in the zone, like Tupuria King.  I watched his warm up for his final and it was full on intent and purpose.  no mucking around, getting distracted by anyone.

Use high energy self talk, like yeah I got this, I am the best, I am fast, I am strong.  Use it to instill that aggressive mindset.

You can also incorporate it into your mental imagery practice by visualising yourself being ‘pumped’ warmed up and just ready to hit the water.

Become a FIGHTER

Giving up is giving up on you.

Once you give up, it becomes an ingrained habit.  And works its way into your training and racing automatically.

Start fighting back, because a fighting attitude feeds on itself and encourages determination and confidence and also puts your competition off.

There is nothing scarier than a competitor who has a “I will beat you or die trying” mentality.

So, to take yourself from just being good, to getting over that line and being great, step it up and hone in that aggressive mindset.

Next week I will write-up a blog on being a Calm fighter and some tips on that if you tend to get to ‘pumped’ before training or races……

Thanks as always for your continued support and following my progress.  My philosophy on sharing has always been, if only one person picks something useful up from this then I have done my job.  It’s a carryover from my days as a teacher and some great advice given to me by my Principal at the time.

Much aroha,

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me

INSPIRED SERIES – Vesna Radonich


World Master Games 2017 Medal Haul


First name: Vesna Aroha

Surname: Radonich Aka Taravana (Tahitian for crazy)

Is an opens & masters division Paddler from Auckland, lives in Gisborne and has been paddling for 10 years.  She typically participates in sprints and marathon events each year.  And loves coaching juniors.


Day before race, I think about the kids meals, what we are having for dinner, is the family sorted. Then I focus on me, as I have learnt that for me to be able to focus in I need to know my family are good.

Two days before, I start drinking more water, stretching, mobility and light cardio to keep my muscles relaxed.  Dinner the night before is usually lots of vegetables and lean meat.  Sometimes I buy pizza for the morning of a marathon race, as it’s what I crave the most.


World Sprints Australia 2016

During sprint racing I just snack on crackers, hummus, kumara, banana, nothing too heavy till after the last race.

Marathons, during racing I have banana pancakes and kumara. On the last leg of a marathon race and on the last sprint final I like cold coffee and dark chocolate for the caffeine and sugar rush.  Not too much a fan of energy drinks and powerades. Prefer the raro with a couple of pinches of salt, does the same thing. Wake up at 5am and eat the usual breakfast, keep it simple, do what your body is used to. As a team or individual paddler it is important to stretch and warm your body to prepare it to preform at its best. For me its usually a jog with mobility stretches. Then when we load on the waka go for a warm up paddle and practice some of the strokes that are required in the marathon or sprint.

MANTRA – don’t think too much, just focus on doing the job

BIGGEST MISTAKE – trying to do too much the night before.

Biggest mistake on a race day, is not speaking your gut feeling when something doesn’t feel right, trust your intuition.


Champions – World Sprints Campaign Australia 2016 


A great big mini to Vesna for taking the time to share a little bit of her knowledge with us all.  She is a super talented, busy athlete and mama and approaches everything she does with so much focus.  I love watching her perform on the water.  Vesna left out the part where she has represented NZ on the international paddle scene for many years in both W6 and V1 racing.  she is also a World Champion V1 paddler.  She has been a paddler I have looked to for inspiration for many years and will continue to do so.

Please show your gratitude by leaving a comment for Vesna and sharing her piece forward with your club and friends.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me



NZ Waka Ama National Sprints – 5 consecutive wins


My name is Mark Malaki-Williams and I paddle for Team Vaka Manu from Maunukau Outrigger Canoe Club in Auckland.  I’ve been paddling for 20+ years.  I was introduced into the sport through my family with Mulivai Fagatoloa Canoe Club from Otara and Pineula in the early 1990s.

I typically try to participate in as many races as I can throughout the year in my V1 and with my team.

The National sprints is a big event for our club and my team.  My team, Vaka Manu has won the Premier Men’s 500m title six times with five of them consecutively.  We’ve also won the world championship 500m title twice.  Canada in 2012 and Australia in 2016.

When I started coaching my team back in 2009, we spent a lot of time not winning.  It taught me a lot about myself, perseverance and hard work.  I became almost obsessive in figuring out how to make W1’s and W6s move faster!  I knew I had to improve myself as an athlete, before I could ask my team mates to do the same.  I would train in my V1 so I would be able to give more in our W6.

I read a lot, and tried to figure things out in my V1.  I would test stroke ideas in my V1 that we could try in W6.  I talked to successful paddlers both in NZ and overseas about how they did things.

With my mind full of ideas, we slowly built our team.  We were still training harder but this time, smarter.

I’ve stepped away from coaching Vaka Manu as I’m now helping our Manukau women’s squad to try to build a solid unit of strong supportive girls who want to excel both individually and in teams.  Watch this space.

I am now also coach of the Elite Mens Sprint campaign for Tahiti 2018.  It’s exciting and will be a lot of hard work but feel we have great paddling talent to do all of Aotearoa proud in 2018.


2016 world Sprint Champs – Bradley Anderson and Mark Malaki-Williams


The birth of my son kind of changed things a bit.  I’m a lot stricter about training times and schedules so if I miss my training window, its gone!  With my wife Diana also training hard and paddling we have life/training/shopping/pickup child/sleep/gym timetable which we try to balance precariously.  It’s definitely a challenge when you’re both trying to be competitive but we believe nothing worth having ever comes easy.

The night before dinner 

I usually try to eat a balanced meal with some carbs like kumara or pasta, some protein and a salad for good measure.  I don’t have ‘out there’ dietary requirements and just try to stick with eating real food…. and the occasional Bastard Burger from Burger Fuel from time to time.

Morning of the race

I usually try to have a good-sized breakfast on race day.  Some poached eggs on toast with porridge also with a strong coffee.  Smash back some water and electrolytes then I’m good to go!


Growing up I looked up to my older cousins who were paddling.  Samanai Peter Williams and Jeff Ah Kuoi.  They became junior world sprint champs in 1994 then followed that up with becoming senior world sprint champs in 2002 in Tahiti.  Samanai Peter was the toughest trainer I’ve ever known and taught me mental toughness through physical training pain!  I always dreamt of one day becoming world champion like them but never thought Would do it.  Now that I’ve managed to do that, one thing has changed is the way I approach big pressure races.  I know I’m no longer making up numbers.  I am confident that I’ve down everything possible to prepare and I know at that point, my team has also.  I say to myself, “time to rip @$%^ up! BE BRAVE! You’re ready”.


World Champs 2016 Team Vaka Manu – Mark (and Taumoana), Bradley Anderson, Joshua Perese, Julius Peterson, Joshsua Leilua, Kimi Taliauli


Putting sunscreen on then forgetting t wash it off my hands.  Only realising when my paddle is slipping on the way to the start line.


Thank you to Mark for sharing his knowledge and wisdom.  He is one of those humble paddlers who quietly works away in the background making gains.  His balance of life and paddling with his family are truly inspiring.

If anything in here resonates with you please share, and drop a comment on my Facebook page to let Mark know what you think.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – for daily inspo and follow my journey to world sprints 2018



NZ Sprint Nationals V1


First name Surname – My name is Jamille Ruka, I’m from the far north Hokianga and Mangakahia but born and breed in Whangarei. I paddle for my Whanau club Te Puu Ao and also do Kapa Haka for Te Puu Ao. I’ve been paddling for over 17years, my first sprint nationals was in 2000 as a mini midget and I’ve been to every sprint nationals since. Waka Ama has grown and developed more opportunities for younger paddlers to gain more experience through world championships and other big events overseas. I love Waka Ama because it’s a great Whanau sport. I continue to paddle with my parents, grandparents, my wife and kids.

Events each year- I’ve always paddled at sprint nationals. I love to Travel every year to compete in Te Aito, Tahiti. I always learn something new from our Tahitian paddling Whanau. I’ve done a few World Championships held in New Zealand, Sacramento and Australia. I have been fortunate to be apart of the first NZ open men’s elite team in Australia this was an awesome experience for me. I had the chance to paddle with some top paddlers that I looked up too when I was a younger paddler and during that campaign I gained a lot of knowledge from the coaching they gave me.

ROUTINE  It’s always dependent on what races I’m partaking in, but usually if I’m in training I’ll try aim for 2hour paddles 5 times a week in open ocean to get good feeling in the surf and to build a good base. If it’s sprints specific I don’t change much but add in 1hour sprint sessions 2 times a week, it’s always harder to recover from doing a lot of sprints training so I keep them short and sharp to build my speed and a race plan for sprints races. I also run a gym called Common Grounds Fitness with my whanau we utilise ZUU and Ankorr and offer community classes 3 days a week after mahi. For me ZUU and Ankorr is a great way to build my mental resilience through the high intensity workouts it’s a good way to push through those barriers of self doubt and hold a strong mindset.

The night before, dinner (anything special or specific for digestion).

On the morning of race (coffee? Tea? How early do you wake? Do you warm up? Stretch run or paddle? And when is your next meal?- The day before the race I like to go out for a light paddle to get my nerves out of the way and get good feeling on the water so my body is activating those muscle memories, this is something I learned from Tahiti and a good friend of mine. For food prep I usually have lots of pasta the night before, fettuccine is my go to but any pasta dish will do I just eat loads of it lol It’s a good way to store glycogen in the muscles for long endurance races. In mornings I’ll have an omelette and then I’ll have a little bit of pasta. I wouldn’t eat too much during race day but if I’m hungry it’s always good to get some fuel in the body.


NZ Open Mens Team World sprints Australia 2016

MANTRA – if you have one? Or something you visualize night before or maybe that morning?- A whakatauki I use an resonate with is “Kaua he mate te tarakihi, Mate he ururoa” “Dont die like the Tarakihi fish, Die like a hammerhead shark” this Whakatauki  always keeps my mindset strong and helps me to refocus before or focus during my races but also known that I’ve put my 100% best hand forward with no regrets after finishing my races.

BIGGEST MISTAKE – leading up to race day? On race day? One big mistake I’ve done in the past is having inconsistency in my training, I’ve done months of training and then all of sudden stopped training because of work or whanau commitments and then I would try get back into training but then find myself back at square one. So If you can get a good routine and stay consistent in your training on the water you’ll definitely see improvements.

Remember to not overthink things sometimes it’s just good to get out and enjoy paddling for what it is and remembering why we paddle in the first place. Also surround yourself with the right people or role models that you look up too that give you the experience and skills to support your growth and development through your journey.

Remember always enjoy the journey and you’ll be able to achieve anything.


Poor Knights Crossing Tutukaka 30km


I’ve known of Jamille just from paddling circles but never really met him till I did the Poor Knights race a couple months ago.  Its funny and I’m sure others will identify with this, but you build up a bit of an image in your head of what the person is like, and when you finally meet them it’s not as bad as you thought.  I admire anyone who paddles, has a family of their own and runs their own business as well as mahi.  The opens division is hard because of this so anyone who can balance all those things shows real commitment and perseverance, important factors in being a successful paddler.

If anything in here resonates with you please share, and drop a comment on my Facebook page to let Jamille know what you think.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – for daily inspo and follow my journey to world sprints 2018

INSPIRED SERIES – Raipoia Brightwell


Raipoia steering her Gold Medal crew Senior Master Women Long distance nationals 2016


I paddle W1 in the Golden Master Women division and W6 in the Senior Master Women division.

My club is Mareikura waka ama in Turanganui a Kiwi, Te Uranga o Te Ra, Gisborne.

Mareikura is the first waka ama club to start in Aotearoa (1985).

Since then, my husband Matahi and I have been relentless in our promotion of waka ama in our role and in Aotearoa, katoa.

I first paddled in the Open division and moved through the divisions in time.  I currently paddle for Ruamata Waka ama club in rotorua.

My husband and I have been competing and coaching at waka ama National sprints since they first started and used to race in everything, everywhere.  However, we don’t do as many races these days as our whanau has grown to 7 beautiful moko (grandchildren) whom I spend most of my time with now.  I usually do Long Distance Nationals as well.  Throughout the years I have medalled in all events entered, whether they be national or international races.  I specialise in the steer position.


Before a race I tend to isolate myself.  I like training on my own to take the time to kinda melt into the water and my waka so we become one.  I am one who usually loves making sure everyone is ok first, but my racing time is an exception:  There is no one else in the world but me.

I regroup, I recoil, I preserve energy, and run my own race over and over in my head, with a particular attention to what the water could be like on the day so when I am there, I already know it.  Even in a team situation I stand apart, fusing with everyone when the race starts.  No kia ora on the water, no have a nice race ladies…. I know no one…. No stretching, no land warm up, my love of being on the water hits me when I finally get on my waka.  It fills me with anticipation and joy… We’re on….

Oh and on the kai area: eat what you are used to and what you can get.  I don’t get hung up on special meals at special times.  I believe that if you eat with intent, and be thankful for the kai you are able to get it will do the job.


Gold Medal National Waka Ama sprints 2016


Stay with the water and go with it… and the rest will come… fitness, strength, success, and most of all the happy paddling stuff!!!


Believe in yourself, but train to the conditions: Molokai solo surfs 2000.  This one I keep rewinding in my mind even as years later.  A huge learning experience to my ego but also sealed my path with the realm of Tangaroa.  A friend had asked to join her in the Molokai Solo Surfski race and I thought ‘Cool – Hawaii, Big waves, island to island, I totally can do it… Minor problem I had no surfski experience – so there goes the surfski training out to sea inTuranga Nui a Kiwa.  Up and down waves, side on, offshore swell, beach surfing – all done.  Three months later was lining up in one of the best line up I ever seen – All surfski and waka ama long course world champions, men and women were there, yeah, an incredible line up.

I was mesmerised, even more eager to just go and do it… Well, the surf WAS much bigger (had to put the brakes on), after 3 hours I hit the wall.  With another 3 hours to ago, it was the longest painful crawl to Hawaii Kai finish line, with the clock showing 6 hours as I went through the finish line in second to last to an old Japanese guy.  The last 3 hours was a battle for survival and a long long time to rethink the poor strategy, get angry at myself, heaps of put downs, and the island which was never getting closer… it’s a good day to die, all that kind of stuff.  I was never able to talk about this race for a long time.  The morale of the story finally, feed the fire within because with this EVERYTHING is possible, BUT also train to the conditions because in the end there is only so far that your belief in yourself, mind power and passion can take you, and your body has to train for it… simple as that.


Raipoia is MY INSPIRATION and always has been from the first time I met her, soon after I started paddling.  I’ve always thought, “I want to be like her when I grow up”, seriously.

I remember racing a Rotohoe series and getting smoked by her!  She carries herself with such grace, but so much strength on the water.

Grateful that she shared her story with us and the learning we can all take from it.She is absolutely correct, mindset can only get you so far, you still have to do the work, that daily consistent action to get better and reach your goals.

If anything in here resonates with you please share, and drop a comment on my Facebook page to let Raipoia know what you think.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – for daily inspo and follow my journey to world sprints 2018