In both sports and culture, Iona College students came out on top last week.

Iona principal Shannon Warren said it had been a wonderful week in the life of the college, and she was "a very proud principal".

"Furnware Cup champions, winner of the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Regionals and named as one of the top performing decile 10 schools for University Entrance nationally. We are truly empowering girls for life."

Hours before the Black Sticks triumphed over Japan at the Festival of Hockey, the Iona College First XI beat Hamilton Girls High School 6-1, winning the Furnware Cup.


Undefeated in the preliminary rounds, Iona were leading 3-1 by the second half, after which their opponents had to play without a goalkeeper because of injury.

Coach Karen Holder said it was a fabulous start to the season.

"The festival is a superb event, and a wonderful opportunity for player and team culture development," she said.

"The chance to mingle with top class international players, many of whom will be representing their countries in Rio, is just not something that comes along every day."

The win came off the back of a big year for the team.

They came second in last year's Furnware Cup, and were promoted to the national first division after taking out the Chica Gilmer Trophy in September.

Earlier last week, the school also triumphed with students winning first place in the regional round of the 2016 University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, sending them through to the National Festival in Wellington.

Iona's director of performing arts Lisa-Jane Easter said her students had shown "brave commitment to dealing with the challenges presented by one of Shakespeare's most difficult works".

The students had been challenged by making the performance gender neutral, performing the play in a modern context and choreographing a stage fight.

With more than 40 hours of rehearsals, they were said to have delivered a performance which was "convincing, highly-charged and dramatic".