Hawke's Bay can lay claim to three medals after the Commonwealth Games concluded last night in Gold Coast, Australia.
Veteran Shea McAleese, of Napier, claimed a silver medal with the Black Sticks men's hockey team soon after the women had claimed gold for the first time at the games on Saturday.
Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare and Tall Ferns forward Josie Stockill, both of Napier, collected a bronze medal each also on Saturday.
McAleese's parents, Margie and Dan, watched him play at the games and shared his joy of never having played in the final of a major tournament before.
"You're always proud when your children do well. He's never played in a gold medal match before so that was fantastic," Dan said, soon after he and Margie disembarked from their aircraft at the Melbourne airport yesterday afternoon to catch up with their elder son, Jonathan, who is living over there.
He suspected McAleese might have harboured a tinge of disappointment but had immediately reconciled that with the Hockeyroos' world No1 ranking whereas New Zealand is in the Noth9 spot but ranked No4 at the games.
The 33-year-old Olympian, who played sweeper in the final which the hosts took out 2-0, had won a bronze medal at the 2012 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
"He still absolutely loves playing for New Zealand," Dan said of McAleese, who was scheduled to catch a flight out of Gold Coast this morning for Belgium, where he plays professionally. Fiancee Jaimee Lovett, of Whakatane, who was a member of the New Zealand 400m sprint kayaking team competing in Rio, accompanied him.
The father said McAleese was the only New Zealand squad member who had played every minute of all six matches at the games, even though he was nursing a hamstring two days before the final.
"He had to get that right and he also had a broken bone in his foot but he still played so that's how much it all meant to him."
When the chips were down in the final, McAleese had slipped on the red shirt to mutate to a "kicking fullback" to boost the number of field players and pull out the goalkeeper.
Dan and Margie had joined the Black Sticks for a celebratory gathering until 2am yesterday.
"We're also really very happy for the team. It's a sign of respect that the Australian players congratulated them," he said.
Hockeyroos coach Colin Batch, a former Black Sticks men's mentor who left the role two years ago, had congratulated McAleese personally after the final whistle. "He thought Shea had played so well."
Dan, a Tamatea Intermediate teacher, and Margie, an entrepreneur, return home on Monday next week after catching up with family. They were going to watch Jonathan play fifth grade men's hockey in Melbourne yesterday.
In a Basketball New Zealand report, Henare spoke with great pride in his group, one that fought through some adversity and the disappointment of not playing for gold.
"I am very proud, they have been fantastic these past couple of weeks, we have played at a really high level and at a not so high level at times but the passion and fight and courage they play with is always pleasing, I just want to make sure they embrace and celebrate this moment.
"Not too many people in the world get to stand on the podium at the Commonwealth Games, they have earned that right and I am proud of them for doing that," said the 39-year-old, who resigned as New Zealand Breakers coach last month.