Machine Politics vs L'Équipe, August 2010. Photo by Steph Simcox
WHBPC 2015 Bid: Timaru, New Zealand
The Australasian Hardcourt Bike Polo Association is formally submitting a bid to host the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships in 2015 in Timaru, NZ. This is a joint submission from the entire region of New Zealand and Australia to host the event. Approval of this bid a full year in advance allows for proper planning and would allow participants access to cheaper airfares.
Southern hemisphere weather lends itself to a spring/summer tournament in November until January. November sees warmer weather and the start of our daylight saving time and the maximum temperature in summer is a perfect mid 20 degrees.
We would prefer direct consultation with the NAH tournament organiser as well as Europe before deciding on a fixed date.
As with any tournament, courts are the number one priority.
A space has been acquired which has the capacity for up to 5 courts of 40m x 20m. The barriers will be the standard 1.2m in height with an inside lining of plywood. This can be accommodated with adequate space around the court barriers for spectators, i.e. no current fencing or walls above 1.2m that would impede viewing. There is additional space for necessary HQ, medical, sponsor tents as well as food stalls next to the courts.
The surface is asphalt which is only two years old. It is currently used for netball/basketball and is textured just enough to provide excellent grip for tires.
Location and Facilities
The court location is Aorangi Park in the town of Timaru, New Zealand which is close to accommodation, food and the town centre which makes for the perfect setting for a fantastic tournament to decide the 2015 World Champion team.
Timaru is a small sized town. The courts are reasonably close to it’s centre. Traffic is non-existent, riding is safe and the town is easy to navigate.
The site of the court has plenty of parking, grass fields and areas to setup and chill.
We intended to provide food stalls, a bike workshop, first aid, sponsor stalls, and all the other bells and whistles expected. There is also some capacity for undercover bike storage but this is yet to be fleshed out.
Below are shots of the court location, the adjacent pavilion and an initial layout option.
Tournament Format & Numbers
WHBPC 2015 will be a three day tournament and could hold up to 64 teams. Having up to five courts allows us to easily accommodate this many teams with a decent time period for each game - i.e. up to 15 minutes.
The exact format and number will be worked out over the coming months with the advice of the polo community. It is most likely to be a 48 team limit with a large wildcard tournament prior.
There is already some initial planning regarding complimentary tournaments in capital cities on the eastern side of Australia.
Players from around New Zealand and Australia have already committed themselves to arriving a week or two early to aid court construction which also provides an opportunity for other tournaments on site in the week leading up to Worlds such as a Wilcard Tournament, an international bench or womens only tournament. All are viable and highly likely. Once again, we are happy to receive input from NAH and Europe on the types and structure of Complimentary Tournaments and with locations and dates that are travel friendly to Timaru.
Timaru’s top motels, backpackers, and holiday park (for super low cost camping) are all within 10 minutes to the courts.
Getting To Timaru & Transport
The closest international airport is Christchurch International Airport in the great city of Christchurch. Timaru is a picturesque two hour drive south from Christchurch. The next closest is Queenstown International Airport, which is 4 hours drive.
Almost all flights within Australia and New Zealand do not charge for bike bags, as “sporting equipment” is free even if it is in oversized luggage. However, some low cost carriers charge for each item of checked baggage. The price charged is cheaper if bought in advance.
While not yet planned for, there may be the possibility of arranging a number of buses or group car-pooling between Christchurch and Timaru. Once in Timaru everything [range of accommodation, supermarket, cafes, bike shops and the town centre] are within 10 mins bike ride. A valid USA or European drivers licence allows you to drive a car in NZ.
Importantly, New Zealand is built for tourism and backpacking. It has an incredibly large and well structured economy for tourists. What this means for polo players visiting is a big industry for car/van hire, well maintained roads, lots of facilities such as public toilets, friendly guidance and help from locals, great signage and wayfinding all because the country is SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL!
● Convenience once in Timaru - EVERYTHING IS REALLY CLOSE!!!!
● Cheap! the NZ dollar is pretty affordable
● There is already support from the whole city including city council, businesses and public attending to assist as well as make for a great vibe.
● Timaru has carved a bit of a niche market for hosting sports events and tournaments, with amenities, venue, accommodation, downtown, and the beach all in short walking distance
● The entire country is an orgasm for the eyes. The stunning landscape and ease of travelling make it a great place to tag on a holiday to the trip.
In March 2013 we proudly hosted the Australasian Championships. A two day tournament with 36 teams. Everything ran to schedule or under (crazy but true). The success of this tournament has been fairly well expressed. For the WHBPC 2015, we have already formed a committee of organisers from Timaru and clubs across New Zealand and Australia to pool in the experience and knowledge. This includes players that have been to WHBPC since Berlin. While spearheaded and run by Timaru, this is a united bid from the entire New Zealand and Australian polo community.