1 What does the role of director involve?
Ensuring the Festival runs successfully, including financially, and that the visitor experience for players, officials and spectators both on and off the field is as good as possible. It's a wide ranging role ensuring all the co-ordination and planning by our team comes together to deliver hopefully a great International event in Hawke's Bay.
2 What should people expect?
Fast, exciting World Class International Hockey. Six of the eight teams competing in this year's Hawke's Bay Cup have qualified for the Rio Olympics. Our NZ Women Black Sticks have just finished 2nd in the World League finals played in Argentina. They are ranked 4th in the World and are a genuine medal chance in Rio. A family friendly atmosphere. Entry ticket pricing at very reasonable value. Festival Tickets are on sale now at www.hockeyfestival.nz
This year, a new tournament, World League1 - a quick, shorter version of the game; 5 a side
An expanded Affiliates Tournament including teams from Hong Kong and Australia.
The Furnware Cup Schoolgirl Tournament - an 8 team competition including 4 local Hawke's Bay schools.
And good weather I hope! . . . the last two years have not been so kind.
3 What are the highlights of the festival?
Obviously the standard of hockey - last year's International final was a dream match up between NZ and Australia. Many of the highlights for me have been off the field - teams and officials enjoying local hospitality and sights.
At the event conclusion we present both the Hawke's Bay and Furnware Cups and medals at the same time. This offers a wonderful opportunity for young schoolgirl players to rub shoulders and engage with some of the World's best players.
4 What has gone into preparation so far for the event?
Months of planning and communication with key partners who all contribute to the Festival success. Accommodation providers, our Ticketing agent, transport providers, venues, media, International and local hockey associations. local Councils, food and beverage sponsors, HBSEEC members, and many others.
Now the team participants and draws have been finalised, preparation steps up significantly and we bring in extra resource as required.
Once the teams and officials arrive in late March it is all hands on deck and a very hectic, busy period until event conclusion April 10.
5 Why is the festival so important for Hawke's Bay Hockey?
The Festival introduces new people to Hockey and grows the profile of both Hockey and Hawke's Bay in general.
Hockey in Hawkes Bay is enjoying a surge in player numbers, particularly at primary school level and several of the Hawke's Bay representative youth teams and Hawke's Bay schools have enjoyed recent success at top level National tournaments. If the Festival plays a part in fostering that growth it is immensely satisfying.
The Festival also contributes huge economic benefit to the region, for the more than 900 participants we have booked the equivalent of over 4000 bed nights in April. The Festival covers a nine day period so injects a significant amount of money into the local economy.