A Haumoana local organised Hawke's Bay's first bike polo tournament, garnered the backing of local businesses, and created a way to promote the region - and all because she "just wanted to see my mates".

Today locals, players from across New Zealand, and a contingent from Hawaii will converge in Haumoana for what is thought to be the region's first bicycle polo tournament, organised by Kaydy-Moana Jones.

The game is short, fierce variation of polo - teams of three ride bikes and use mallets to hit a ball for 10 ferocious minutes. During the game players are penalised if their feet touch the ground.

The 25-year-old was taught the sport when she moved to Hawaii several years ago, while working on boats. However when she returned to Haumoana last year, she could not find any players of the sport here.


An old Hawke's Bay bike polo club appeared to have stopped, so after not being able to compete in the sport for nearly a year, Ms Jones said she decided to create the tournament - inviting all New Zealand clubs, and her Hawaiian friends.

Named Haumoana SmackDown, the event promised to be "village bike polo at its finest".

Last night the 17-person group from Hawaii, as well as New Zealand players from Auckland, Wellington, and Hawera clubs were welcomed with a powhiri at Matahiwi Marae.

"I wanted to show my Hawaiian friends the same hospitality I'd received over there," Ms Jones said.

From noon today they will compete on the tennis courts at Memorial Park, Haumoana.

Ms Jones said anyone interested in watching the sport was welcome to "come get amongst", and were invited to heckle the players as "it's pretty much a part of the game".

People were also welcome to join in on the game - they could bring their own bike, or borrow one there if they felt like giving it a go.

"There'll be over 50 games. We're just going to keep going until everyone's tired."

As well as the tournament, players will be able to experience the best of Hawke's Bay - from the Hawke's Bay Farmers market, Te Mata Peak, to cycling around wineries.

"We're going to do a sausage sizzle, because they don't have those in Hawaii, and a hangi, staying at the marae, all the cultural experiences," she said.

Local businesses had also pitched in to sponsor the event - players will compete in clothing from Black Robin, enjoy a night at the Common Room, feast on Haumoana Burgers, and go on a Gannets Beach Adventure.

-Head down to the Haumoana Smackdown on the tennis courts in Memorial Park, Memorial Park Ave Haumoana.