Taranaki youngsters took to the turf over the weekend to compete in the Taranaki junior hockey festival.

The junior hockey festival tournament changed from a representative tournament to a participation tournament in 2015.

Denise Hill, executive officer for the Taranaki Hockey Federation, says participation is the focus for the tournaments.

"It is a fantastic way for the children to play something different from their weekly hockey, to have fun and meet other children from within their own area and from throughout Taranaki. Some of these children only play quarter field currently and this is an opportunity to play half of a field."

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Denise says wooden boards were installed for the tournament around the field so the games were fast and continuous.

"The boards deflect the ball and carry on. They get several short games over the day."

Nine games took place on Saturday for the Year six to eight children for the TET Cup. Nine games also took place on Sunday for the Year three to five children for the TET Junior Cup.

Denise says the teams are mixed within a region.

"Schools in Northern Taranaki are mixed so they play with some different children from their usual team. We also have Southern and Central teams."

Junior umpires were used for the tournament. The umpires have been assisting with the weekly competitions in Stratford and New Plymouth.

"This is an opportunity for them to participate and use what they have been learning over the last season or two."

Students participating didn't have any prior training. They arrived at the event, grabbed their t-shirt and met their team.

Denise says the tournament is fun for the children but she understands a lot of families go away over Queen's birthday weekend and that time is important too.