Tell us a little bit about your city
Whangarei is the northernmost city in New Zealand and has a population of just over 50,000 people. Whangarei is often described as the ‘Gateway to the North’ and is a short drive to countless beautiful beaches and many other picturesque attractions for travellers.
When and how did polo start here?
Originally we tried to start polo in Whangarei in 2011 but couldn’t get enough interested, to the point where we considered sending our mallets down to the guys in Auckland to get better use out of! But thankfully Ash opened his community bike workshop, Whare bike, at the start of 2013, which gave us the right platform to get polo started in Whangarei!
How many people play in your city?
We have 4 people that play regularly in our city, and about 3 more who play periodically, however one of our regular team mates will be leaving us to travel around Asia shortly, so we will need to get recruiting asap!
How often do you play?
We try to play twice a week, Thursdays when the Whare bike workshop is open and Sunday afternoons
Tell us about your courts
We make use of the large carpark outside Whare bike for our courts, it’s a roughly the size of two small tennis courts! Over Easter weekend we hosted a tournament, and we were fortunate enough to get to use highway barriers and cones from Whare bike’s neighbour Hirepool to create a closed rink!
What have you found works to get new people playing polo in your city
So far we’ve found that playing while Wharebike is open is enough to lure fellow bike enthusiasts into playing!
Are there any other clubs nearby? How far away is the nearest city that plays?
New Zealand is a fairly small country, which is good and bad, from Whangarei it’s 2 hours drive to Auckland, which is the biggest city, and therefore has the biggest group of polo players, after that there’s Hamilton (3 hours from us) and Taupo (which is 5 hours from us)
Do you play with other clubs in your country often?
We have played with the Auckland and Hamilton clubs, who came up to Whangarei over Easter to play in our (super casual) Hot Cross Mallet Tournament! We will be heading to Auckland soon to play in one of their tournaments
Tell us a little known fact about your city
Michael Hill, founder of global jewellery chain Michael Hill Jewellers was born and raised in Whangarei
Questions by Virginia Castellan
Answers by Victoria Sinclair
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