Gender-specific sport is a thing of the past as more boys and girls are mixing it up on Horowhenua sports fields.
At junior level, the traditional winter codes football, rugby, netball and hockey were lumping the boys and girls together in larger numbers than ever before.
There was a marked increase in the number of girls and women playing rugby and football, while more boys and men were taking to netball, too.
The breakaway from the traditional norms was filtering through to an increase of player numbers at college and senior levels. There were now college and women's teams in both rugby and football, and rumblings for a senior men's representative netball team.
Horowhenua-Kāpiti Rugby Union community rugby assistant manager Cam Prouting said last season the total number of players registered with HKRU was 4464. Of those, 1624 were female. That was an increase of the previous season figure of 1504.
Prouting said it was generally accepted that girls and boys could play together until the age of 14, although there was no hard and fast age ruling.
At that age girls were encouraged to play schoolgirl college rugby. In the last five years all colleges in the area had fielded girls' teams. That growth in schoolgirl rugby was feeding senior women's club rugby.
"It's a huge growth area across the country, but especially here. It's really grown in the last five or so years," he said.
HKRU has the most registered female rugby players of the eight Heartland rugby provinces - more than Buller, East Coast, King Country, Mid Canterbury, North Otago, Poverty Bay and South Canterbury.
Meanwhile, Levin AFC Football Club president Rob Easton said there was a push from the national body to encourage and accommodate girls. There was no hard and fast rule about what age girls and boys should split. Common sense was a rule of thumb.
"We've always had a good number of girls that play," he said.
All colleges had a healthy number of girls teams and that was generally the time when boys and girls split into their different competitions, although they had no problems with girls and boys mixing, as long as games remained competitive.
Levin AFC was looking to set up a women's development team now, to run alongside their successful senior women's team, he said.
The Levin AFC U17 team recently played a Phoenix Academy side that featured a number of promising girl players.
Netball Horowhenua president Robin Wells said there were a lot of boys playing junior netball, and they were encouraged. The last thing they wanted to do was discourage anyone from playing netball.
But in the interests of player welfare, boys and girls currently split apart from the age of Year 8 and upward, she said.
"Around that time some of boys can get really big, and boys' bones can grow harder than the girls ... player safety has to be important," she said.
There was uncertainty around senior men's netball, though. For the first time, a men's team approached Netball Horowhenua last week to play in a senior grade this season, affiliated to the Levin Wanderers club.
A decision was made not to allow them to compete in the interest of player welfare, but Wells said the association was keen to push hard to see how they could accommodate men in the future.
Whether that meant attracting enough players for a men's grade, in the absence of a grade that men could "safely" join. As it stood, most of those men were now competing in other competitions outside the province.
"We really do want to look after and encourage all players," she said.
Levin man Nick Bailey runs an indoor netball league on a Tuesday night at the Tiro Tiro Rd stadium and said most teams had two or three men in them.
"There's far more men playing now than there ever used to be," he said.
"We wouldn't have enough men in the region to have a men's league on its own, but then again once rugby stops they all start participating again."
Horowhenua Hockey President Vicky Prouting said junior grades had always mixed boys and girls together. The grades were split when players reached college age.