Two of Rotorua's top gymnasts are off to Hawaii to represent New Zealand in their beloved sport.
Best friends Krista Taylor, 12, and Meghan Dorrell, 11, have practised together for most of their lives, starting as children playing around at the Mid-Island Gym Sports Club in Rotorua.
The pair now practise their routines four times a week for four hours at a time, and are coached by Olympic bronze medallist Dong Fangxiao.
After registering high scores at a recent national gymnastics competition, the pair were selected for the New Zealand team, leaving for Hawaii on January 8.
About 35 countries will compete in Hawaii during January, with Krista and Meghan taking part in the Level 8 competition, which is similar to Step 8 grade in New Zealand.
This is the second year Krista has competed in the Level 8 competition in Hawaii, while it will be a first for Meghan.
"I'm not really setting any goals for the event. I just want to have fun and enjoy it while I'm there and try my hardest," Meghan said.
"There will be a lot of different countries there and it will be great seeing how different gymnasts are around the world and what level they are at."
Meghan said she had always enjoyed gymnastics and this competition would be a completely new challenge.
Krista said it was great to have her friend alongside her for this trip and she was aiming to do better than she did last year, where she missed out an an overall placing.
"It was a lot of fun [last year], but scary and nerve racking at the same time."
The Mokoia Intermediate students said they would be competing in the vault, bar, floor and beam disciplines, their favourite being the bar. "My favourite is probably the bar, it's just fun to swing around on the bars," Krista said.
Coach Xiao said she was very proud of the two girls who had a great year representing MIGS Club.
"They have done really well and are working very hard. We had three gymnasts go to Hawaii last year but this year we just have two."
She said it cost about $6000 per person to go on the trip, which was mainly covered by parents.
Meghan's mother Amanda Dorrell will travel with the girls as a chaperone, and she thanked all their local sponsors for their help in funding the trip, including Resolve Accountants, Slade Contracting, SDM Mechanical and Engineering and Dorrell Floorsanding.