The Tasman Paddle Day is an annual event held in partnership between the Halberg Foundation, Moana Paddle Nelson, Nelson SUP Club, Maitahi Outrigger Canoe Club, and Sport Tasman each year. The event is a two-hour water activity day held at Tahunanui beach in Nelson. The day provides and opportunity for the disability community to experience a variety of on water activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking and waka ama. The paddle community rally strongly to support this event and a large number of paddlers volunteer to support the participants in the water on the day. Over 20 people volunteered alongside Moana and Nelson SUP staff to deliver the event.

The community also supports through providing a beach wheelchair and beach access mat for the day, enabling all participants to easily access the beach and water as needed. These are provided the CCS Disability Action in Nelson and the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve who support annually. There is also a modified large paddle board rightly named “The Big Tahuna” which has an upright seat attached. This enables anyone with a lower body mobility impairment to experience paddle boarding from a seated position. This piece is always a huge highlight for the young people.

The day always brings a heap of smiles for all involved. Many young people who have a disability get to experience the thrill of boarding, kayaking or waka for the first time, and volunteers get to share their joy and experience of the activity with the participants.

Going forward the objective is to increase the regularity of the opportunity for the disability community through the development of a program following the annual event. This enables those who enjoyed their time on the water the opportunity to return regularly to hone their skills and to enjoy the beach in a supported environment.