Korean seniors introduced to Euro game
Seniors of the Korean Positive Ageing Charitable Trust's Silver School visited Pakuranga Croquet Club for their Have a Go Sport Day.
They enjoyed a sun-drenched afternoon on the greens of the Lloyd Elsmore Park club, learning and playing the traditional European ball and mallet game for the first time.
After a brief instruction session, the group split into smaller teams to compete against each other.
With eyes fixed on the croquet balls and hands clutching mallets, the seniors took turns to make their moves, sighing or cheering over a miss or a score.
"Croquet playing is an awesome opportunity for us," trust general manager Yongrahn Park says.
"It's fun and our students enjoyed it in the comfortable and safe environment."
Silver School is not only for connecting socially, but also a chance for senior immigrants to learn about New Zealand society, Park says.
Student Paul Kim, whose team won a croquet game, says he had a wonderful time.
"I'm very excited to be playing," Kim says. "Our team is very nice. If I have any chance to play I'll come back."
It's the first time the club has hosted a Korean group, though it has been working with different ethnic and age groups.
"It's a very nice day for us, and they're all very jolly people," club captain John Wood says.
"It's nice to get the retired people out into the fresh air and play."
Wood says the seniors and coaches could easily understand each other despite a language barrier, and the students became quite good at croquet after playing for a while.
The 30-year-old Pakuranga Croquet Club has 60 members and plans to make create more lawns to take in additional members.
"We're interested in doing more work like this, with more groups coming to visit," Wood says.
"It's a very interesting game. It makes you fit, because you're walking all the time."
The club usually plays on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Anybody interested is welcome to have a go, with coaching and equipment provided, Wood says.
Sharon Yang, ActiveAsian community sport advisor for Counties Manukau Sport, helped coordinate the croquet visit and also joined in.
"The initiative is getting more Asians active and we encourage people to try different things which is age-approriate," Yang says.
"I've never played this game before. Everybody enjoyed it, including me."