Paddle Power
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“Paddle Power,” New Era, June 2011, 36

Paddle Power

Out of the darkness of the early morning came eight rafts of various shapes and designs with their youth crews and supporters. It was the annual raft race for the Auckland New Zealand Harbour Stake, and the first of 12 races was underway.

Races were varied, including combined young men/young women teams and a leaders team. A good day was had by all with the Takapuna Ward young men regaining top prize, the Title of Liberty Challenge Shield.

Work on the Takapuna Ward raft started five months earlier as their deacons, teachers, and priests spent many hours splitting bamboo, heating and bending it into shape, and then lashing every crossbeam. More than 5½ miles of twine (9 km) was used to tie over 3,000 knots—all of which held the raft together. When all the lashings were completed, it was time to stretch the canvas over the frame.

The young men and women helped sew the canvas at the top. Then it was painted and left to dry. Practices were held at every opportunity if the sea at Takapuna Beach was smooth enough and everyone got in the racing mode. All the boys and girls got closer together, and a really strong brotherhood and sisterhood was formed.

One thing teachers quorum president Hunter Amende learned from all the hard work and paddling was, “There is no I in team.”

Photographs courtesy of Jacob Marshall