Jackson Taylor has his sights set on umpiring hockey at an international level.

The year 12 Stratford High School student is hockey and has a natural ability for umpiring.

"I just love the game and umpiring is a great way to give something back to the game."

Having umpired games since he was 10 and played representative and school hockey since he was 13, the 16-year-old has been moving up the ranks. He is now taking every opportunity he can to umpire a range of games from primary school level to national tournament games, including finals.


Jackson says two years ago he umpired at the national junior U-13 boys tournament- his highest level. This sparked his interest in learning more and progressing within the role.

"When I was younger I would help out dad umpiring and started playing hockey in year nine. Umpiring has been a fun thing to do for fitness but I started taking it more seriously at the start of last year after doing my first national tournament.

"Since then I umpire whenever I can - it's just about doing different things and seeing what I can do to improve myself."

Jackson's love for the game comes from his dad Glen Taylor, who is heavily involved with hockey. He has also been influenced by hockey mentors who have fostered his development.

Glen has played the game for most of his life and as well as being the Stratford Hockey Club president, organises high school primary school and representative hockey through the Taranaki Hockey Youth Council. He is also on the Taranaki Hockey Federation Board and a member of the Taranaki Hockey umpires committee.

Glen says Jackson's future is looking promising as he has a good repertoire with adults and a good understanding of the game.

"He has the potential to go a long way. He has a good presence on the field and the ability to read the game as a natural umpire. He picked up the rules really quickly."

Jackson is already passing on some of his skills mentoring younger players as well as coaching junior players though the Fun Sticks and Junior Sticks programmes.


Umpiring has taken Jackson out of Taranaki and this year he attended the Rankin Cup, the highest ranked secondary school boys' tournament in New Zealand.

In April he went to Auckland with his dad to umpire at the World Masters Games which he says was a great experience.

"It was amazing meeting people from the South African teams and teams from Asia and Australia - it was so amazing seeing people come together for the love of sport. It was 10 days of meeting new people and learning from their experiences."

Jackson says it was a fantastic learning experienceworking alongside people who had umpired at the Olympics and World Cups. He umpired two games a day over nine days including the Over 70s Women's B finals, whose oldest player who was 87.

"It was good to see that at that age they can have so much fun."

He also umpired for Taranaki's Senior Mens Final for Taranaki this past season.
Jackson's talent was recognised this year when he received the Most Improved Umpire for Taranaki award during the Taranaki Hockey senior prizegiving
He says being an umpire takes a lot of focus.

"Playing the game takes a lot of fitness and knowledge but umpiring takes focus and concentration which makes it mentally draining."

He is enjoying pushing himself in the realm of hockey but also loves farm life. He hopes to do to Lincoln University after school to study agricultural commerce.

"Growing up on the farm is a huge part of my life and I am passionate about it and keen to learn more about the business side of things - but I am keeping my options open.

"I have been lucky to have had good mentors and I think if you have a passion for something you have to follow it."

Taranaki Hockey Federation Executive Officer Denise Hill says Hockey Taranaki has had five teenage umpires attend national and regional age group tournaments this year including Jackson, Lachlan Hanser, Joshua Bland, Chloe Jackson and Brayden Sharp.

She says the umpires did really well, with some even umpired finals games which was testament to their talent.

Denise says the the federation offers the umpires mentoring support and their success demonstrated that Taranaki was batting above its weight for its size.

"There is plenty of promising talent out there."