A sport that combines skills from three of New Zealand's most popular sports is undergoing a revival in Wellington thanks to some international expertise.
"Lacrosse has the hand-eye co- ordination of cricket, the footwork of football and the physicality of rugby," said Marcus Lind, president of the Wellington Lacrosse Association.
Lind, a former Sweden international, learned the sport as an exchange student in the United States, and now wants to rebuild the popularity of lacrosse in his new home.
Though it is not traditionally associated with Wellington, the Native American sport was played at the Basin Reserve before World War I.
The game faded from the scene soon after, but the Wellington Lacrosse Association re- incorporated last August.
Lind said the association was recruiting new players with the aim of entering men's and women's teams in the national championships in March.
"Beginners can expect a totally new experience and despite the initial struggle of mastering such a wide range of skills, now is a great time to start," said Lind.
Wellington's lacrosse players, a mix of experienced players and novices, range in age from 12 to 40-somethings.
"It's a relaxed atmosphere, but you get good drills, great coaching, and you will be among the best in Wellington after a practice," said Lind.
"There's so much to learn, but everyone here is on a similar level so you can practise together and evolve as a team."
Vinnie Lundon, 31, was dragged into the sport by a friend six months ago and is sticking with it because "it's so much fun".
"When I left school most of my sports stopped so finding an organisation like this to get back into it is really good," he said.
Lundon said it was hard to pick up, but once you got the basic skills you could quickly start refining them until you felt confident in a game situation.
He was able to put his newly- honed skills into practice when a group of Wellington players travelled to Auckland to compete in a six-a-side tournament recently.
The event increased his enjoyment of the game tenfold, he said, and gave him more incentive to help recruit new players.
"Because of our size it's a great time to have a go without having to be part of a competitive team."
The Wellington association aims to promote the game in colleges and to start a team at Victoria University.
Beginners can join the weekly practices at Marsden School, Karori, Sundays, 4pm till 6pm and Waitangi Park, Wednesdays, 5.30 till 7pm.
- For information, go to nzlacrosse.com.
- The Wellingtonian