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Splash palace: Māngere bombing comp expected to draw hundreds

Natasha Hill

Qualification for the Manu World Champs kicks off at the Moana Nui-a-Kiwa Pools this Monday.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

The Moana Nui-a-Kiwa Pools in Māngere is will play host to a water bombing competition that enable the suburb's best proponents of the "manu" to qualify for the World Manu Championships next month.

Water bombing or "manus" involves people jumping from a high platform and landing in the water on their lower back, which is then judged based on how big the resulting splash is.

Event organiser Toko Manuel says the competition will not only help teenagers “keep out of trouble" over the long weekend, but also open up other opportunities.

“We're in an area where we have a lot of issues around crime, gangs and stuff like that - if we can keep them out of trouble all day, that's a bonus in itself for every community that we touch base with.

“I've seen some kids that are under 10 years old take out these comps and we can support that right now and create a sport where they go [compete against others].”

Manuel said there wasn’t much support for competitive water bombing until the World Manu Championships reached out to them.

“The only thing we could do for these kids was give them their prizes. Now it's different … here's a platform, here's the first stage that they can go there and flex themselves from Māngere and represent Māngere.”

His son, Justin Manuel, also known as Jhustle, sponsors the competition and is going to film a music video based around the action on the day.

Bombing has been controversial in the past, with some casual bombers doing it in dangerous places and being injured.

Justin says the event can encourage people to land safely in the water without hurting themselves or others.

He’s happy to be giving back to the community and is excited to see how the day turns out.

“I'm hoping that it turns out really good to be honest and I'm pretty excited because I've grown up around this whole thing my whole life.”

Around 200 people are expected to attend on Monday, with the day including stalls and entertainment.

Hero image: A promotional poster for the Manu World Champs. Photo / Auckland Council

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