Hockey fever ahead
Taranaki's own hamlet will shine bright when Stratford hosts an international hockey event later this year.
The 2013 Oceania Cup will see Trans-Tasman teams, including the New Zealand Black Sticks, take each other on this October.
Taranaki was awarded the competition after intense bidding was helped by the local support the region can offer.
Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke is delighted that the town's recently
upgraded hockey turf will be the focal point of the event.
With several teams set to descend on the township, he is confident the town will enjoy a financial injection.
"I'm sure that directly the motels, accommodation people and restaurants and those sorts of businesses will all profit."
Plenty of other stores were likely to see a surge in shoppers as well as fringe towns, he said.
Hockey NZ chief executive Hilary Poole said the sports body was delighted to have won the hosting rights.
"Trans-Tasman competitions always attract a lot of interest and the support we have had from the Taranaki community has been fantastic," she said.
Both the women's and men's Black Sticks teams will play Australia during the three-test series.
Other Pacific nations have been invited but the draw will not be finalised until June.
Oceania Hockey chairwoman Pam Elgar said that the popularity of hockey has grown in Fiji, Samoa, Papa New Guinea and Vanuatu, meaning the group need hosts that could provide a quality experience for a potentially larger tournament.
"Oceania Hockey has traditionally rotated this tournament between Hockey New Zealand and Hockey Australia," she said.
"The competitive bid process provided Oceania Hockey Federation [with a] great choice between two quality bids.
"We are looking forward to seeing Stratford deliver a fantastic tournament and experience for all."
Both Kiwi teams are aiming to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. They need to finish in the top three at Rotterdam's World League Round 3 in June or win the Oceania cup.
Hockey New Zealand has built partnerships with the Stratford District Council, Sport Taranaki, TSB Community Trust, Taranaki Electrical Trust and Venture Taranaki. The organisation will also work closely with the Taranaki Hockey Association to clinch the event.
The Oceania Cup is held every two years. In 2011 it was hosted in Hobart and before that it was in Invercargill.
This year, for the first time, Oceania Hockey had a competitive bid process to decide which country it would be hosted in.
A televised event, the cup will take place from October 28 until November 3.