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5 February 2013, 04:16 pm
Cook Islands Starlet Helps Inspire Future Sailors
McKenzie surrounds herself with Cook Islands sailing youngsters
McKenzie surrounds herself with Cook Islands sailing youngsters

Cook Islands

Inspiring more girls to get into sailing and motivating those who are already hooked on the sport is the key behind Cook Islands sailing 'GIRLS BIG DAY OUT'.
National Laser Squad star Teau McKenzie, who was back at home in Rarotonga from school in New Zealand spent quality time with young female sailors at her home club, Rarotonga Sailing Club, to share some of her sailing experiences.

"I want to look at the way the girls sail and give them some advice and tips on concentrating on improving their techniques……it's all about concentration if you want the results," said Teau. "I'm very happy to see more girls in sailing now, when I started I was the only one!"

Teau hosted the group at a dinner at Rarotonga Sailing Club where the girls were able to see the medals she has won, which proved to be a very inspiring experience. Teau started sailing when she was eleven. She represented the Cook Islands in 2009 at the South Pacific Games in Aitutaki Cook Islands and took home a bronze medal in the Laser Radial, and also won team gold with fellow sailor and London 2012 Olympian Helema Williams. 2010 saw her represent the Cook Islands in Singapore at the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and in 2011 she represented the Cooks at the Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia where she took the silver and team gold, again partnered by Helema Williams.

Teau's personal long term goal is to represent the Cook Islands at the 2016 Olympic Games, with a short term focus in 2013 to represent the Cook Islands in the Pacific games in Wallis and Futuna. While in New Zealand, Teau has been sailing in Teams racing for her school, Westlake Girls College, whom she led to victory in 2012, gaining gold for the top girls' Teams Racing Championship and fifth overall in the NZ Secondary Schools Teams Racing Championship. Teau has been inspired by the success of Jo Aleh who, seven years ago, had led her school to the same height in Team Racing. She recently met Jo and held the London Olympic Medal, "That was really awesome! I want to be the Jo Aleh of the Cooks," said Teau of this experience.

Teau has now returned to New Zealand for her last year of high school and a strict regime of training towards gaining selection to represent the Cook Islands at the Pacific Games.

Sailing Cook Islands President and newly elected ISAF Development and Youth Committee member Anne Tierney said, "Teau is a great young woman. She has personally driven herself to be a real achiever and problem solver. She really has grown to love the cut and thrust of tactical racing. I admire her passion for sailing where she is not afraid of hard work. I really appreciate the time she has put in while at home assisting us with club programs. Teau has been interviewed frequently on TV, radio and for newspapers, where her love of sailing and competing shines through. While Teau has been here she has helped with sailing clinics, Green Fleet training sessions and holiday programs run by our club. Teau is a true Cook Islands National Representative and role model!"

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