Newcastle Outrigger Canoe Club will mark its 10th anniversary on Saturday with a naming and dedication ceremony for a new racing canoe.
Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony at the club's Carrington base from 10.30am which will include a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony, welcome to country, presentation by Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp, a grand reveal of the club's new Indigenous-inspired uniform and boat design, a paddle and a sausage sizzle.
John Cates from the canoe club said the new lightweight OC6 (six person) racing canoe would be named Onebygamba (pronounced Wunny-be-gamba) - the Awabakal name for Carrington.
"This name acknowledges the Indigenous traditions of the area and links the club to the local community," he said.
"Though this style of canoe has a strong Polynesian origin, the chosen name acknowledges the canoe-making and seafaring history of the coastal Aborigines."
The club will adopt a design motif for the canoe and a new racing shirt incorporating artwork by a respected local Aboriginal artist to further the connection to the Awabakal lands.
Crakanthorp will present the club a cheque to the club during Saturday's celebration to fund part of the purchase of the canoe. The club was successful in its Community Building Partnership grant bid.
"This contribution covers part of the canoe cost with the balance being from funds raised through the club's annual Pasha Dasha regatta, Bunnings barbecues and other fundraisers and membership fees," Cates said.
"[This] grant has allowed NOCC to acquire the new canoe for junior teams and to help maintain their competitiveness of senior teams in Australian OC regattas. The club last purchased a new racing canoe in 2011."
While there have been outrigger paddlers in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie for many years, in July 2009 a core group of enthusiastic paddlers decided to form Newcastle Outrigger Canoe Club. The club competes in regattas throughout NSW and at times further afield. Since forming in 2009, club membership has grown at a steady rate.
"The strength of the club is demonstrated by its membership which grew by nearly 50 per cent last year to over 60," Cates said.
"The club still includes many original members who mentor the ever increasing number of people wishing to enjoy this paddle sport on Newcastle Harbour waterways."
Peter Townsend from Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council will perform the smoking ceremony on Saturday morning. Uncle Bill Smith, a Wirrigan Aboriginal elder, will undertake the welcome to country.