In last weeks edition of the City Report we talked with Glenn Sunkel from Auckland, New Zealand. This week we talk to Nathanael Fournier about bike polo in Wellington, New Zealand.
How long has polo been played in Wellington?
Polo in it’s current form, most resembling the hardcourt polo played around the world, has been played here since the winter of 2011. Prior to that there were a few groups that played sporadically; one was the Victoria University of Wellington Bike Club which started playing around 4 years ago and mostly on grass, and the other was a loose group of friends who played on hardcourt but with field hockey sticks and a larger ball. Polo was kick-started in Wellington with a little Canadian polo infusion by a visitor from across the pond.
How many regular players do you have?
We have around 20 people that play in Wellington, about 10-12 of which I would say are “regulars”.
How often do you play?
We play once a week.
Tell us about your courts
Our court is 15m x 30m with an asphalt surface.
How many different courts do you use?
Just the one. But we have played in various places before settling on our current home court.
Do you pay to hire them?
They are by a local community centre which we have a good relationship with. We don’t pay.
Do you have lights?
Some street lamps but not nearly enough light for us to play at night.
Have you had any tournaments or demos lately? Do you have any tournaments or demos coming up?
Nope. But hopefully soon!
Do you have a league?
Not at the moment but it is a great idea.
What have you found works the best to get new players?
- Having our saturday games right next to a main walking thoroughfare means that almost everyone in the area knows who we are and when we play, there seems to be a fair bit of interest from passers by
- Making pickup polo a chance to hang out as much as play polo, i.e. bring a BBQ (preferably on a bike) and music, drinks etc.
- Letting new people play in a relax chill game.
- Having lender bikes and mallets.
- Word of mouth.
Tell us an interesting face about your city
Wellington City Council spent $350,000 on a Rugby World Cup tribute sculpture that looks more like a parody of a traditional war memorial. Money well spent? I’ll let you decide!
Questions by Virginia Castellan
Answers and photographs by Nathanael Fournier
Look out for next weeks City Report featuring another polo playing city of Australia or New Zealand.