Introducing KIRITA SIO - Dragon Boat & Waka Ama Competitor

Introducing KIRITA SIO - Dragon Boat & Waka Ama Competitor

Welcome to our Ambassador blog series, where we celebrate the diverse passions and pursuits of ordinary Kiwi's achieving the extraordinary. From athletes to artists and everything in-between, they embody the spirit of New Zealand through their shared love for their respective sports, activities, passions and occupations.

Join us in discovering their inspiring stories.


Brief outline on who you are, your background, occupation, where you live etc. 

Fortunate to be based in the heart of Mt Maunganui for the last 3+ years, I was relocated with work directly following the transition out of the Covid pandemic in 2020. I am a Team Leader – Commercial Property Manager managing a team located in four core offices throughout New Zealand; I have over 20+ years’ experience in the property industry having worked in the residential, government and commercial fields. Nurturing long term relationships with clients and colleagues is important and I have been especially lucky within my roles, past and present, to have seen the growth of individuals within their careers.
Of Samoan & Chinese descent, family is extremely important to me, so it was a huge move for a homebody like me leaving my close-knit family and friends to relocate from my hometown of Christchurch to start afresh with the offer of a new opportunity in a new city. The internal reminder of treating every day as a new opportunity, offering gratitude daily and remembering that we have more possibilities and opportunities available than we truly realise is always on repeat in my head; the old adage of always dream big, and don’t let anyone limit your dreams because the possibilities are endless - holds true.

What is your chosen sport/occupation/passion/interest/hobby? What attracted you to this? Why do you love doing it?
I have always played court-based sports, however, with the move to the Bay of Plenty, I knew very little people and wanted to try new experiences to meet new people. Surrounded by water in the Bay and having no experience in any type of water sports, a Google search lead me to the Bay of Plenty Dragon Boat Club Inc who offered free trial sessions on the dragon boat. Having suffered from shin splits, sprained ankles, torn meniscus etc over the decades from netball etc, Dragon boating was appealing because of the low impact to my lower joints. My very first paddle in October 2020 had me immediately hooked on Dragon boating. I joined an all-women’s team in 2021 and was exposed to some amazingly lovely women of all ages who were competitive, this pushed my competitive edge to work hard to improve and I was fortunate to attend my first overseas regatta with them in 2022 attending the Pan Pac competitions in the Gold Coast. The Pan Pac competition was an eye opener and I returned with a desire to keep improving in a sport I was now hooked on. In 2023, I joined a mixed Dragon boat team under the same club, BOP Dragon Flyers, with the intent of continuous improvement; I am fortunate to have been apart of such great teams that has helped nurture my love of the sport with the great vibe and culture they each create. In 2023 to keep my paddle fitness up during the off-season and to keep working on my technique, I joined Tauranga Moana Outrigger Canoe Club and took up Waka Ama – again, a new water sport I now have an equal passion for.
The connection with the water and the camaraderie built with people within the sport has been quite special.

What are the pros and cons of what you do? What would you consider your biggest achievement(s) to date? What would be your ultimate goal/dream/ destination/achievement?

Pros of both Dragon boating and Waka ama is the connections and the people you meet throughout your journey; it is amazing the time and knowledge experienced paddlers offer and give back to individuals and teams. Dragon boating and Waka ama are human-powered water sports that relies on teamwork, power and the effort from each person within the boat; this is a high intensity rate of racing involving a lot of upper body, core and leg drive to allow you to power with strength through the water; with this said, it can be hard on the joints such as on shoulders, lats, back etc.
I have been fortunate within a short period of time to be involved within teams that attended Pan Pacs, Gold Coast; attended my first dragon boat national competition with a team that placed in the top 3 in 2023 within NZ; training and attending my first national Waka ama race and competing in my first 22km W6 regatta in the beautiful Abel Tasman. Our mixed dragon boat team will shortly be training intensely following National competitions in April to compete at the Italy Club Crews World Dragon Boat Championships with a contingent of 130+ teams throughout the world already registered to compete over five days in September 2024 in Ravenna, Italy. My greatest achievement to date is being fortunate to have met so many wonderful people through this sport and knowing that no matter what age or fitness that you can still keep pushing your limits hard.

How does X-ZONE help you to achieve your goals?

I was blessed a great work colleague, Charlie Oscroft who is also a competitive sportsman, provided me with a few samples of X-Zone to try. At the time I was attending my first overseas regatta but was suffering pain in my lower back whilst competing; I loved this was a NZ natural product and I ditched using (Competitor brand) and (Competitor brand) after my introduction to X-Zone Sports Rubs and Sprays. Dragon boating and Waka, when training at high intensity for long periods, starts to have an impact on your body and joints; I use the X-Zone Sports Roll-on and Rub in particular on sore/over worked joints and it just helps numb and release the area enough for me to compete and train. I’m a big advocate of these products and am always actively encouraging friends and family to try the product – I have pottles and roll-ons always on hand in any of my sport bags, in my car and at home plus spares to offer to people to use; I have even placed some sachets for use within our team first aid kit. I can’t speak highly enough of this product.

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