Twenty-one teams representing eight Far North primary schools took part in the Far North Primary Schools Mini Hockey field day at Taipa earlier this month.

The event saw the students playing a modified version of hockey on smaller sized grass fields, with no goalkeepers and using a softer ball. With no specialised venue available north of the Maungamuka Gorge, the day represented a great opportunity for local primary school children to try their hand at the ball-and-stick game, noted spokeswoman Lesley Wallace.

"In being played on grass instead of artificial turf, this challenged the children to control the ball which in turn helped them learn from playing a modified version of the game as well as enabling them to discover and correct their own mistakes, and improve," she said.

She added organisers were chuffed to get great feedback from both children and the adults that supported them.


This included the likes of John Windleborn, Paparore School principal, who noted, "Our tamariki had a blast!", while Kathryn Carey, the principal at Pompallier Catholic School, commented, "Our kids and parents loved the entire day."

As Sport Northland's community connector, Wallace added the emphasis was firmly placed on participation with no scores taken and no winner at the end of the day.

"This is in alignment with what we know about what children love about sport and meeting their needs. As adults, we have the ability to shape a child's experience in sport, and consequently affect whether a child may grow to have a lifelong love of sport, or not.

"So focusing on effort and improvement, and ensuring everyone is included matters ... that children get to learn through experiencing play makes for a far more enjoyable experience. Ensuring that children have positive sporting experiences means more young people will grow up with a lifelong love of sport."

Wallace concluded on behalf of organisers by giving special thanks to Taipa Area School for the use of their grounds and LeeAnn Jury, school sports co-ordinator, for arranging food stalls along with her Sport Northland colleague Garth Hutchinson.