New Zealand's fourth-ranked women's hockey team will contest a four-nation tournament in Darwin later this month as Rio Olympic preparations start to ramp up.

The Black Sticks will face third-ranked Australia, Japan (No 10) and India (No 13) in the series from May 31 to June 4.

The series will mark a return to action for North Harbour striker Petrea Webster, who has been sidelined since breaking her nose and suffering concussion during the tour to Argentina in January.

Fellow North Harbour striker Kirsten Pearce is over a broken thumb sustained at the Hawkes Bay Cup.


For Cantabrians Sophie Cocks and Pippa Hayward, there's the prospect of a 100th international in the pipeline. They are on 96 and 98 caps respectively.

Among those sitting the trip out are experienced midfielder Kayla Whitelock and first choice goalkeeper Sally Rutherford.

"Darwin gives us the chances to continue looking at players and how they perform during high intensity games," Black Sticks coach Mark Hager said.

"We see the series as a valuable and critical part of our build up to the Champions Trophy and also Rio, which is what all are preparations are building towards this year."

The Black Sticks squad: Georgia Barnett, Emily Gaddum (Central), Sam Charlton, Rose Keddell (Midlands), Sophie cocks, Pippa Hayward, Rachel McCann, Olivia Merry (Canterbury), Liz Thompson, Julia King, Amelia Gibson, Charlotte Harrison (Auckland), Petrea Webster, Kirsten Pearce (North Harbour), Ella Gunson, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal (Northland), Anita Punt (Capital).