Roller Derby is a full-contact sport with a healthy dose of theatre. Players love it and give themselves names such as Angel Rage, Dr Slaughter, Nutter and Piggy.

"It is so much fun," says Bay City Rollers' Colonel Panic.

"It is the kind of thing I look forward to at the end of the day because I get to let out some of the angst."

She's lacing her skates at the Rodney Green Centennial Event Centre, helping her Hawke's Bay club's top team prepare for a match with Christchurch team Dead-End-Derby Death Stars, the nation's top-ranked team.

Advertisement

The Hawke's Bay feeder team, Twisted Sisters, are helping the Iron Maidens with their blocking and jamming in preparation for the match.

"Our jammers are the ones that score points. You will see them during the scrimmage with stars on their helmets.

"They score points by lapping the opposing team's blockers."

Blockers jostle and barge the opposition Blockers as each tries to make a path for their own jammer to pass them, while preventing the opposition jammer from passing.

And with a lot of substitutions there's a lot going on, which is very engaging for spectators, but requiries both referees and non-skating officials to keep the game rolling.

The helmets, pads and speedy tumbles make it look violent, but in fact the sport has far fewer injuries than basketball.

"I wouldn't say it is violent. We go through a lot of training to make sure everyone is safe," Panic said. "It's not violent, it's strategic."

There are male leagues in New Zealand but the sport is predominantly female and Hawke's Bay also has a junior team.

Advertisement

Whakatane referee Major Mischief got interested in the sport when his wife started to play. He now travels the country officiating for the 10-team national league.

"I love this sport and I would love to see more and more people involved in it, especially officials," he said.

"There are seven referees on the track and 10 NSOs at any given time, so you are looking at 20 people, give or take, to help officiate a game."

Made with funding from