Team Kia Kaha shares passion for synchro across New Zealand


The word "Kia Kaha" comes from the Maori language of New Zealand and means "to be strong". / Credits photos: Kia Kaha 

Coached by Caitlyn Paul, Kia Kaha skates for the Centaurus Ice Skating Club (CISC) in Christchurch, New Zealand. This Mixed Age team consists of 13 skaters who practice recreationally 1 – 2 hours/week. Meet this team who actually lives its Winter season.

«We are a young and fun group of figure skaters that get together early every Monday morning (sometimes Wednesday mornings also) to practice our synchronised skating skills both with and without music. Our youngest member is 16 and our oldest member is 22 so it is fair to say that because we are all quite close in age, we get along really well,» said the team.

«Stay together under difficult circumstances»

Kia Kaha, what does that mean? «Our name is not related to any form of ice or skating related themes. Kia Kaha has the Maori meaning of ‘be strong’ (Maori being the language of the indigenous peoples of New Zealand). The team was created around the time of the 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes, and this name was chosen to represent the strength and determination shown by the team to stay together under difficult circumstances. It also makes us probably the only Synchronised skating team in the world with a Maori name,» the team captain Varshana continued.

The skaters have traveled overseas to Australia twice to compete in the Australian National Championships and placed 3rd both times out of at least 10 other teams. Kia Kaha finished 1st at the 2018 CISC Championships and placed 3rd at the 2017 Australian Nationals.


«We could probably do more work to fundraise and therefore make it more feasible for us to attend more competitions or gain more ice time to train to therefore get better results,» wrote the team when we ask them what would be the points they still need to work on. «Engaging with other New Zealand teams to actively promote synchronised skating to a wider audience,» they added.

The team originally began with 13 skaters in 2011. This was enabled by the Hayden Synchro club donating several sets of dresses to help them get started.

«Ice skating is not hugely well known in New Zealand»

In New Zealand, there are «approximately 8 synchronised teams ranging from Novice – Adult levels. Only 3 teams, including ourselves, in mixed age,» explained Varshana. «New Zealand is a small nation where ice skating is not hugely well known. Because of this, there is limited support for synchronised skating in the country. That means it is up to individuals and teams to try and further development of the sport- which is exactly what we’re trying to do. We do our best to promote synchronised ice by posting on our Facebook page and spreading awareness through the Skate School programme at our rink in Christchurch.»


Their goal? Trophy D’Ecosse 2020

The team is now in the middle of the skating season and they are currently skating to «The Greatest Show» from The Greatest Showman. They have qualified to skate at the NZ National Champs with the hope of qualifying for Australian Nationals (in Sydney) again. «For our current season we aim to place first at the Australian Nationals, working towards skating trophy Trophy D'Ecosse 2020,» said the team captain.

Are you still looking for skaters? «Not at the moment, however for next season (beginning in April next year) we will be looking for a few more skaters,» the team continued.

«If you want a change of scene come and visit New Zealand in your next summer :-) !»