In the last City Report we talked with Derren Hall from Perth. This week we talk to Anna Bland, Vicki Butterworth, Ricko Mills and Stephan McDonald about bike polo in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
How long has polo been played in Hawkes Bay?
Would you believe about 6 weeks – the first ‘Off the cuff’ get together was held on the 15th of April at Napier Sound Shell. Twenty would-be’s, including some already converted and some we just hauled off the street. Anyone who stopped to watch was encouraged just to try. From there is just seems to be growing into……
How many regular players do you have?
About 20 – complete mix of backgrounds, bikes and skills.
How often do you play?
At this stage every second weekend Sunday and some Friday nights. Our Treasurer Ricko and his wife organise the ‘Couples Only’ Friday nights, this to keep it a bit tamer for the wives/partners and to help keep relationships intact.
Tell us about your courts
We have several courts we can use. Hastings court is inside a roller rink, with side boards and fenced – with a grandstand and small velo track outside the court. Napier Soundshell is a large area in front of the historic Art Deco Soundshell, a very public area, on the seaside but with no sides for the court area. We will be using this site for the tournament, so will be bringing in courts, being lent to us from Taupo Hardcourt. We are also planning on using Whitmore Park in Napier – again an old outdoor skating rink with side boards and fence.
How many different courts do you use? Do you have lights?
Two at this stage. For impromptu rounds at Napier Sound Shell in Napier – it’s a stunning location, very public and great to expose to Joe bloggs. The more official court is at the skating rink at Splash Planet at Hastings. Complete with its own grandstand and lights. So far we are able to use these council facilities free of charge.
Have you had any tournaments or demos lately?/Do you have any tournaments or demos coming up?
Last Demo was on Sunday 19th at the Napier Sound Shell – to help grow numbers and get it out to the public for the Ride of Your Life Event.
[Ride For Your Life is 3 day festival held in Napier on 6, 7 and 8 July which will include a bike polo tournament. More information here on the Bike Polo Hawkes Bay Facebook page and here on their website.]
Would you consider having a league?
YES!! Hopefully our little get together will take on its on life and a league will be born.
What have you found works the best to get new players?
Really it’s about educating locals about what Bike Polo is. We have a large bike culture of road, recreational and mountain biking here in Hawkes Bay, so it’s about spreading the word in our community. We have spare bikes/mallets which we make available to anyone who wants to try – and pretty much once they try they are hooked! Making it public at Napier Sound Shell, which is in the heart of Napier city certainly helps raise the profile. It’s such a fantastic location. Being part of ‘The Ride of Your Life’ Festival is certainly exposing it a lot more people, who have never heard of Bike Polo, which can only help. We are looking forward to getting this event up and running and connecting with the existing Bike Polo community around New Zealand and Australasia.
Tell us an interesting face about your city
As Wiki tells it: Napier a seaport, located in Hawkes Bay on the eastern coast of the North Island. The population of Napier is about 58,800 as of the June 2011. About 18 kms south of Napier is the inland city of Hastings. These two neighbouring cities are often called “The Twin Cities” or “The Bay Cities” of New Zealand. The total population of the metropolitan area of Napier and Hastings is about 122,600 people, which makes Napier-Hastings the fifth-largest metropolitan area in New Zealand. The region has a strong ‘Art Deco’ influence making it very popular with visitors.
What you also need to know about Hawkes Bay is that we have a fantastic sunny climate, creating wonderful local produce and world famous wine. What more reason do you need to come and check us out!
Questions by Virginia Castellan
Answers by Anna Bland, Vicki Butterworth, Ricko Mills and Stephan McDonald
Photographs by Lee Warren Fotoshoot Photography