Marching groups from across the North Island will descend on Napier this weekend as they compete in the 2019 North Island Marching Championships, in the city where the sport was born.
The competition, on Saturday December 7 at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale, will see two Hawke's Bay-based teams compete in both technical drill and display marching.
Hosted by the non-profit organisation Marching Hawke's Bay, the competition will see Buckingham Guards and Burlington compete across four age groups - Under 12, Under 16, Senior and Masters - in the hope of qualifying for the nationals next March.
"Marching was created and born in Hawke's Bay in the 1930s, when young women from the armed forces, factories, shops and other workplaces wanted something to do while their husbands were away at war," said Sheanna Forrest-Davy, the publicity and promotions officer at Marching Hawke's Bay and co-coach of Buckingham Guards.
"Since then, it grew to be the biggest sport in New Zealand, but has started to dwindle in recent years. Marching Hawke's Bay used to have teams from Napier, Hastings, Waipawa, Waipukurau and Taradale.
"The sport itself is dwindling, dying even, all around the county. Many girls don't find the sport cool and many girls are bullied at school for marching. But, we are still expecting a great performance from the teams attending."
The free-to-enter event starts at midday at the Pettigrew Green Arena, with an ice-cream truck, coffee cart and a raffle on site.