Last year's edition of the Hawke's Bay Festival of Hockey saw a thrilling end as Australia pipped the Black Sticks in the dying seconds of the final.

Festival director David Nancarrow is hopeful of another transtasman clash in the final of this year's tournament which begins on Saturday.

He said the seedings suggested a repeat of the 2015 final and a shot at redemption for the home side was a real possibility.

"However, on their day anyone can beat anyone," Mr Nancarrow said.


Five of the top 10 ranked teams in the world will be in town and six of the eight sides will feature at the Rio Olympics in August.

"They have all sent pretty much full strength sides, so there will be some brilliant hockey played."

He said with the quality line-up and favourable forecast the festival was set to be a fantastic occasion.

"The turfs are looking good, the teams are training, the signs, scaffolding, seating ... it's all starting to happen, all hands to the wheel," Mr Nancarrow said.

Events co-ordinator Rachel Dame said preparations were ticking along nicely for the third annual festival.

"We're pretty flat out right now - a lot of the players and officials have started to arrive and all teams will have arrived by this afternoon."

With the Ireland and Canada sides visiting for the first time, Ms Dame was keen to help showcase the best the country has to offer.

"I'm just ready for the event to get here and all the plans to be put into action."

The other international sides that will compete for the Hawke's Bay Cup are Australia, India, Japan, Korea and China.

Playing in the affiliate tournament will be New Zealand Maori, Australia 35+, New Zealand 35+, Australian Country, New Zealand Senior X1, Hawke's Bay, the Barbarians and the New Zealand Indians.

Ms Dame said ticket numbers were strong five days out from the Festival of Hockey. "We've sold quite a few season passes which gives them access to all of the games."

Festival of Hockey:

* The Hawke's Bay Cup - Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park, April 2-10.

* Affiliates Tournament - Park Island, Napier, April 4-8.

* Furnware Cup - Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park/Park Island, Napier, April 6-10.