Hockey: Fundraisers use terrier' tactics

By Ben Guild

Aside from the obvious quality of the two new blue water turfs at the Tauranga Hockey Centre, the enduring memory of Saturday's official opening was the way those involved spoke of Tauranga Hockey Association board member Jo Tisch.

Tisch took the lead in the community-led fundraising effort, and won high praise - mixed with a touch of mirth - for the dogged manner in which she led her core group of volunteers.

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Ross Paterson explained how he came to be involved in the funding process.

"About 18 months ago, I got a call from a person who said their name was Jo Tisch, who wanted to talk to me about hockey in Tauranga," Paterson told an impressively large crowd in overcast conditions.

"Jo and her team came out and spoke about their management, where they were heading and what they wanted to do, what their infrastructure was and how it had just about finished its life.

"And then she said 20 per cent of their members come from Western Bay. So suddenly I had a pretty sharp focus on the discussion and where we were heading."

That sentiment was backed up by TECT chairperson Michael Cooney.

"Your turf replacement committee certainly had passion and commitment in spades, but in addition also had a high professionalism that gave everyone who dealt with them great confidence that this project was going to come to fruition," said Cooney.

"They say that the only difference between a hockey mum and a terrier is lipstick, and I think in the case of your committee you did well to put a large number of hockey mums on it because they certainly knew how to gnaw away to the bone."

Tisch, whose team managed to match the $50,000 in reserves put forward by Tauranga Hockey within a year, said it was merely a matter of doing something that needed to be done.

"Our sand turf was 20 years old and was not only falling to bits but was dangerous to play on, and the water turf has deteriorated really quickly as predicted in the last 12 months," said Tisch.

"The seams were splitting and it became a real health and safety issue, so we were pretty much at crisis point anyway. The timing of things worked really well for us."

The funds, in addition to $800,000 from TECT, $200,000 from Tauranga City Council, $100,000 from the New Zealand Charitable Trust, $75,000 from the Lion Foundation, $50,000 from Pub Charity and $50,000 from Western Bay District Council, came from members, a quiz night and numerous connections in the business community.

"First and foremost it's about providing for our community and providing a facility that we can be really proud of that will inspire people to come and play.

"For me, this is about building Tauranga's infrastructure, being a community facility and getting more people into sport."

Tisch thanked both councils and TECT for their support and described the venue as the hub of Western Bay of Plenty hockey.

A fund, being paid into by Tauranga City Council and Tauranga Hockey, has been established for when the new turf surfaces need replacing.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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