Seti Afoa on Celebrating Swimmers from Samoa to New Zealand

Seti Afoa on Celebrating Swimmers from Samoa to New Zealand

Seti Afoa of Samoa Swim Series sent his global greetings across the Pacific Ocean.

I trust you had a good run of 2021 where you are. Challenges, as you know, are part of the journey in this COVID-19 climate. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a major challenge in their professional, family or personal life in the last two years brought on by the pandemic. The trick I have found is to go with the flow and make the most of the opportunities that the changes offer up. 

Two years ago, I was living the dream of welcoming many of you to Samoa, Tonga or Tahiti for idyllic active holidays, be it swimming, cycling, triathlon or running. That vanished very quickly at the onset of COVID-19. My lifestyle and business disappeared overnight. After nine years of meeting new friends and seeing many of you each year in Samoa and the islands, that part of life for me is now on hold. I miss it greatly, seeing friends on a regular turn throughout the year.

A year ago, I was certain that we would be seeing the back of COVID-19 at about now and life could return to normal. But from this vantage point in December 2021, I cannot see a clear view ahead of when things will really return to normal. Our plans for Samoa from July to September 2022 have not changed, but there is a lot to happen before any of it can be put into place. I will update you about Samoa and Tonga in March. Tahiti could be a long way off still. 

This year has been a busy one for me. For the first time in ten years, my entire family, including me are living in the same city and only minutes from each other. That has been a blessing seeing the children every week and being near the grandchildren. 

The biggest event for me this year was the New Zealand Ultra Marathon Swim Awards in Wellington [see here at and below]. That was a tremendous occasion to honor the amazing achievements of Kiwi ultra-marathon swimmers. As the Awards organizer, there was a lot of work involved in getting that across the line. 

Samoa Events business continues with weekly ocean swims in Auckland under the banner of O Swim.  We had the Long Bay 10 KM swim, the 7th time I have run that swim in Auckland. Our local events in Samoa have been running all year.

I miss tremendously seeing my friends from afar in the islands.”

At the New Zealand Ultra Marathon Swim Awards, three Lifetime Award Honourees included Barrie Devenport (1935-2010), 79-year-old Perry Cameron, and 59-year-old Meda-Therese McKenzie.

Legends Awards were given to 47-year-old Paul Feltoe, 16-year-old Caitlin O’Reilly, 31-year-old Jonathan Ridler, 45-year-old Sarah Poplar, 51-year-old Gráinne Moss, 60-year-old Susan Sherwen, 33-year-old Casey Glover, 32-year-old Rebecca Hollingsworth, 15-year-old Quinn Boyle, 50-year-old Tracy Messinger, 41-year-old Alice Sagar, 24-year-old Liana Smith, 36-year-old Samuel Percy Muir-James, 60-year-old Mark Krynen, 50-year-old Fraser Dunbar, 54-year-old Brett Richardson, 51-year-old Raewyn Winsley, 52-year-old Neven Fisher, 52-year-old John Hancock, 23-year-old Breanna Ward, 26-year-old Eliza Cummings, 48-year-old Anna Marshall, 31-year-old Jeremy White, Linda Collard, 61-year-old Mark Gillon, 55-year-old Kimiora Taunga, 46-year-old Duncan Kukard, 36-year-old Corrina Connor, 55-year-old Sarah O’Dwyer, 42-year-old Vicky Tate, 34-year-old Claire Hobson, and 29-year-old Payal Ramritu.

Perry Cameron, Lifetime Honouree
Meda McKenzie, MBE, Lifetime Honouree
NZ Ultra Marathon Swimming Association President Philip Rush presenting Barrie Devenport‘s Lifetime Award
accepted by Ian Greenwood
with English Channel swimmers Casey Glover, Gráinne Moss and Meda McKenzie, MBE
Around Rangitoto Island swimmers Susan Sherwen and Duncan Kukard
Catalina Channel swimmers Sarah Poplar and Paul Feltoe
Apolima Strait swimmers Mark Gillon and Linda Collard
Waiheke to Auckland: Claire Hobson, Payal Ramritu, Tracey Messinger, Sarah O’Dwyer, Rebecca Hollingsworth, Corrina Connor, Vicky Tate
Quinn Boyle in foreground with Perry Cameron and Meda McKenzie MBE behind.
Alex McKenzie was honored with the Maui Award for his support of Meda McKenzie in her marathon swimming career
Casey Glover (current Cook Strait Record holder) meets Perry Cameron, the third person to swim Cook Strait (1972)
Legend Talks speaker Susan Sherwen
Legend Talks speaker Jonathan Ridler
Legend Talks speaker Eliza Cummings

Photo on top shows swimmers who crossed the Cook Strait include Susan Sherwen, Perry Cameron, Liana Smith, Rebecca Hollingsworth, Brett Richardson, Mark Krynen, Samuel Muir-James, Casey Glover. On the middle row: Paul Feltoe, Hana Wolzak, Meda McKenzie, Raewyn Winsley, Caitlin O’Reilly, Jonathan Ridler, Philip Rush. In the front row: Grainne Moss, Breanna Ward, Fraser Dunbar, Sarah Poplar.

For more information and photos, visit

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Steven Munatones