Hockey in the Hurunui District has had a massive boost with the official opening of a $450,000 multi turf at Amuri Area School last week.
The half turf, which will suit six-a-side hockey and sports such as futsal, has been in the pipeline for the past two years thanks to some passionate parents and a supportive principal.
Amuri Area School principal James Griggs said he was approached by some school parents who wanted to provide more opportunities for people to play hockey in the area.
“These parents were really passionate about growing the sport and providing opportunities for our students and the community to get involved in hockey.”
Lourdes Mones-Cazon, a former representative player from Argentina was one of the driving forces behind the project. The mother of seven had played for Waikato while living in the region, but after moving to Culverden discovered there were no opportunities for her and her family to play the sport she loved.
“I started talking to some other parents and we decided to advertise for people who might be interested in playing.
“We had no turf to play on, so we had to play in the gym, one week out from our registration closing date we had one team and by the end of the week we had seven teams of 10 players.”
Mones-Cazon said although it was a social league, it got quite competitive and they were concerned about players’ safety.
“It was for this reason we knew we had to move out of the gym. So we went and talked to James and it all started from there.
“When we opened it last week it was like a dream come true,” she said.
The new turf was funded through grants from Lottery, Rata, Pub Charities and the Amuri Area School Board of Trustees.
Griggs and Mones-Cazon said support from The North Canterbury Sports Trust and Canterbury Hockey has also been instrumental in getting the project completed.
Canterbury Community Hockey Manager Ben Owers said the turf is a great asset to a community which has predominantly been more involved in rugby and netball.
“It’s fantastic for that community to have an asset like this and from our point of view it’s great that it promotes hockey and helps grow the sport.”
Owers said Canterbury Hockey has run the FunSticks programme at Amuri Area School, as well as provided them with some gear.
He said first and foremost the turf will be used to run skills programmes but as the popularity of the sport grows in the Hurunui it’s hoped it will one day be in a position to host tournaments as well.