Secondary school tournament week is one which students all over New Zealand circle on the calendar every year. From basketball and hockey to table tennis and rock climbing, there is something for everyone. Different tournaments are held all over the country, including nine in Bay of Plenty which will see thousands of athletes descend on Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupō. The opportunity to hit the road and create sporting memories with their schoolmates is something those involved will never forget. Sports reporter David Beck looks at some of the events being held in the Bay.
The New Zealand Secondary Schools Table Tennis Championships are under way in Tauranga, providing young athletes with the biggest and best preliminary practice tournament before open nationals.
The tournament is part of Secondary Schools Tournament week, running in centres around New Zealand, including nine events in the Bay of Plenty bringing thousands of budding athletes to the region.
On top of the table tennis competition this week, Tauranga is hosting national rock climbing and football tournaments.
The table tennis championships are being held at Memorial Hall until Wednesday. Table Tennis New Zealand executive director John Lea said there were 88 students competing and he expected the national titles to be hotly contested.
"The level of competition is pretty good, we get most of the top New Zealand juniors who are at school playing. The open national championships are on in four weeks time so over and above representing their school this is the biggest and best preliminary practice tournament for nationals," Lea said.
He said an emphasis on development in the sport in the last three or four years had seen a growth in secondary school participation.
"We're providing more opportunities through schools. It's a sport for life which people of all ages and abilities can play. It's indoor, so you don't have issues with weather and it can be played all year round."
New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council chief executive officer Garry Carnachan said there were 78 different sports tournaments being held throughout New Zealand with an estimated 20-25,000 students participating.
"It's great for them to experience travelling as part of a team and all the things that go with that - participating, contributing and relating to others, all the stuff that good sport brings.
"For a lot of these kids it's the culmination of their winter sport and they can go away with their mates and compete with their school colours on which brings a lot of pride for them."
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amid fears around the spread of measles. Carnachan said other tournament organisers had worked closely with health authorities to ensure they were well advised.
"We take the advice from the authorities and experts, namely the Ministry of Health and in particular the Auckland regional public health service.
"They said there's no need to cancel events but we've published a lot of advice around how parents should ensure their students are protected and schools should collect information so they know who is not protected and at risk."
Meanwhile, Rotorua is hosting basketball, football and hockey tournaments while Taupō is the venure for hockey and football.
The New Zealand Secondary Schools Maurice Hulme Girls Football Tournament is being held in Rotorua until Friday and stadium events and sports manager Crispian Stewart said it was pleasing to be able to use the council's resources to help develop girls sport in particular.
"This is the fourth year we've held this tournament. The feature of the tournament is being able to play on the main field in the stadium, I try to make sure every team gets at least one game there and they get a real buzz out of that."
Stewart said the highlight of any sports tournament, for the players, was the camaraderie.
"You watch the girls and they're just having so much fun, it's great. It fits a lot of what Rotorua is about, hosting multiple teams over multiple days and there are lots of things for them to do here outside of football."
Secondary school tournaments being held in Bay of Plenty this week
New Zealand Secondary Schools Climbing Championships, September 2-3, Rocktopia.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Table Tennis Championships, September 2-4, Memorial Hall.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Football Boys Hillsdene Junior Tournament, September 2-5, Fergusson Park.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Basketball Junior Premiership Zone 2, August 31-September 3, Energy Events Centre.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Football Girls Maurice Hulme Tournament, September 2-6, Rotorua International Stadium.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Hockey Boys Woolaston Trophy, September 2-6, Smallbone Hockey Turf.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Basketball Schick AA Premierships Zone 2, September 4-7, Energy Events Centre.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Football Boys Rex Dawkins Tournament, September 2-6, Crown Park.
North Island Secondary Schools Hockey Mixed Tournament, September 2-6, Great Lake Hockey Turf.