Toa hockey qualifies for premier grade
A Porirua women’s hockey team has made history by qualifying for the Wellington premier one grade for the first time.
Lisa Bishop who coaches and plays for the Toa team said it was a first for Porirua.
‘‘It took us three years and we worked really hard to get here,’’ she said.
The team is iwi-based, meaning most of the players come from the Ngati Toa iwi.
‘‘Mums, sisters, aunties and nannies have all played. Girls from the pa have always played hockey.’’
The club celebrated its 85-year anniversary last year and Bishop it had not missed a season.
‘‘It started with the wives from the pa filling in the weekends by playing sport.
They used to play the nurses from Porirua Hospital on a grass field.’’
Being part of an iwi team had its benefits, she said.
‘‘It gives us an extra sense of pride to represent Ngati Toa. We play as a family.’’ Bishop represented New Zealand Maori when she was just 16 and was still playing for the side last year. The centre half made her Black Sticks debut in 2000. She has now returned to Porirua to do her best to promote the sport.
She said as a young player she had to travel to Wellington, where there were better facilities, and wanted to prevent Porirua players having to do that now.
‘‘An upgrade of the hockey turf [at Elsdon Park] would allow games to be hosted in Porirua. It would also attract new players.’’
The Toa club currently has three women’s teams and four junior teams.
Bishop said it was time to grow both interest in the sport and members of the club.
Budding hockey players didn’t need to belong to the iwi to join Toa, she said.
‘‘We have girls from the pa, girls from other iwi and pakeha girls.
Most of our players attend local colleges, but we always need more.’’
The premier competition started two weeks ago and Toa began the season well with a win and a draw.
Lisa Bishop, right, playing for Toa against Kapiti.