Chairman of Hawke's Bay Regional Council Rex Graham and Tukituki National MP Lawrence Yule were amongst those in attendance at the opening of the new canoe polo complex in Hawke's Bay.
Crowds gathered as Canoe Polo Hawke's Bay opened the new an outdoor pool complex, which is specifically designed for canoe polo, ahead of this weekend's 54-team annual Art Deco tournament in Hastings.
Ngāti Kahungunu Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana and Sports Park Hawke's Bay chief executive Jock Mackintosh were also present.
With four full-sized courts, the new feature at the Mitre 10 Park Hawke's Bay could provide a useful space for other small boat sporting activities, waka ama and triathlons.
While people played similar sports to canoe polo in the 1800s, the modern style took formal shape in 1987, when an agreed court size and elevated goals were introduced.
The canoe polo world championships are held every two years, with the first held in England in 1994.
The NZ women won gold in the 2016 final against Germany, with the U21 NZ women picking up bronze at the past four world tournaments.
According to Canoe Polo Hawke's Bay, the sport was brought to the region in 1991.
While Hawke's Bay already has 700 of the 2200 registered participants nationwide, the new facility, located alongside the EIT Institute of Sport & Health, will undoubtedly attract further interest.