The Northland Darts Open is gaining momentum in the lead-up to this month's tournament.

The Taniwha Darts Association's first major tournament is quickly filling up with 73 of the 92 spots already taken ahead of the March 24-25 event.

Far North player Brian Steed said the tournament was already a great achievement for the growing club.

"It's a huge thing for Northland darts for sure. Whangarei fell over a while back but they've started it back up again a couple of years ago and to be holding something like this already is a great accomplishment," he said.


"From up north, our closest competition was Auckland so it's great to have something a bit closer now.

"It's really a huge step forward for Northland darts. When we have gone away as a region [Whangarei, Bay of Islands and Far North combined] we haven't sent a full-strength side.

"With numbers going up in Whangarei it's only going to help our performances on the national level."

The quality of players competing is strong with New Zealand number two Craig Caldwell lining up to play.

The Wellingtonian sits only behind Counties-Manukau's Cody Harris on the national rankings.

Caldwell said he was relishing the chance to compete somewhere he had never been before.

"I've never come up this way before. That was a draw for me; I've always wanted to go there. I see the Northland guys around at tournaments and they've said they wanted me to come up," he said.

"The organising committee asked me if I wanted to come and I said 'yes' right away.

"I'm definitely up here to win, that's the plan. There's some great players registered already and there'll be some big numbers but the title is in my sights.


"Hopefully I can play well, I've put the work in so there's no reason why I can't perform strongly."

Caldwell is a former New Zealand Masters (2011) and New Zealand Open (2012) champion and is well placed to perform well.

Both Steed, ranked 12th in the country, and Caldwell believe the growth of darts in New Zealand is due in big part to television coverage.

"Being on TV has been a big thing, we've got a couple of ex-golfers who play the game. He thought it was a thing you did in the shed before they saw it on TV," Steed said.

"We've noticed a lot more younger players are coming in. Our usual age of player was in the 50s but now we've seen more 20 and 30-year-olds come in and even teenagers."

Caldwell said "it's come into the mainstream now".

"It's an easy game to play and a lot of young people have taken up.

"We see all the big English events and the pros have been coming to New Zealand for the Auckland Masters. Even Phil Taylor came for an exhibition."

- to enter the Northland Darts Open, head to or call Paul Baker on 027 432 2181