The Vantage Black Sticks Men are set to open their year with an exciting five test series against Pakistan in Wellington and Wairarapa next month.

The series, which serves as the Black Sticks' first competition for 2017, will see three tests at the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington (17, 18, 20 March) and two games at Trust House Hockey Wairarapa in Clareville (22 and 23 March).

The announcement comes following news that former Kiwi international Darren Smith has been appointed as new head coach of the programme.

Wellington Hockey Chief Executive Trafford Wilson said the games will be a celebration of the sport ahead of a big year.


"Wellington Hockey is thrilled to be hosting the Black Sticks Men vs Pakistan for the first three games of their five match series.

"2017 marks a milestone year as the National Hockey Stadium in Berhampore looks to open its third turf in late March, which is set to bring more top level hockey to the region and support the sports significant membership growth.

"We look forward to working with Hockey New Zealand to make this test series a huge success and the opportunity to continue to grow our sport's profile across the Wellington region.

Wairarapa Hockey Executive Officer Kelly Govan expressed it was exciting news for the community.

"Hockey Wairarapa is delighted to have received confirmation that the Black Sticks Men and Pakistan will be playing two tests in the Wairarapa.

"We hope to recreate the same brilliant atmosphere here at Clareville, and excitement within the local community as we did when the Black Sticks Women played the USA back in 2014.

"This will be the first time the men have played in the region and all local sports fans should relish the opportunity to watch under lights what are sure to be skilful, high speed games between two world class teams."

National Hockey Stadium, Wellington
Friday 17th March - Game 1 - 6:30pm
Saturday 18th March - Game 2 - 4:30pm
Monday 20th March - Game 3 - 7:00pm

Trust House Hockey Wairarapa, Clareville
Wednesday 22nd March - Game 4 - 6:30pm
Thursday 23rd March - Game 5 - 6:30pm