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Hawke’s Bay backs the Black Sticks journey to the London Olympics

Hawke’s Bay backs the Black Sticks journey to the London Olympics
October 4, 2011

In a world first, a community has joined together to sponsor a national sports team in its quest for Olympic glory. The Hawke's Bay have partnered with New Zealand's national hockey teams – the Black Sticks Men and Women - to give them all the support they need to take on the world's best teams next year in London.

The unique sponsorship agreement is the brainchild of Vector Arena co-owner and the man behind the phenomenally successful 'Walking with the Dinosaurs', Bruce Mactaggart. A hockey fan, he was looking for a way to get the Black Sticks the financial support they needed, while at the same time, galvanising a community and all its resources behind them.

Bruce and Robyn Mactaggart along with Hasting's businesswoman, Jenni Giblin and Hasting's mayor

Lawrence Yule assembled a group of some of the region's most influential and forward thinking residents.

They assembled at a local winery where Mactaggart outlined his vision for Hawke's Bay becoming the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks.

As Mactaggart explains "while I personally believed this was a great notion, I obviously wasn't sure if others would agree with me! But in my view, the potential for global exposure for Hawke's Bay and the opportunity to drive this community forward was too good to miss."

Immediately, 23 'leaders' committed to make a financial contribution to initiate the sponsorship, Mactaggart stating "this is not just about hockey – it's about what is possible when a community comes together, how we can unite and use all our resources, financial and intellectual to support our national team while also galvanising and supporting our own community."

For the team, it offers them the financial support needed for them to focus on being the best they can be in the lead up to the London Olympics, but also much more.

Hockey New Zealand Chief Executive Hilary Poole explains "the way in which this community has unanimously got behind the Black Sticks is extraordinary. It is not just a cheque, the Black Sticks are getting the support and energy of an entire community and over the next year as they build to the Olympics, that will be incredibly powerful."

Hawke's Bay will play host to an induction weekend from 25th to 27th November as well as team training camps next year. The Black Sticks will also visit schools, businesses and community organisations in the region.

Mayor of Hastings Lawrence Yule sees it as a fantastic opportunity to take the Hawke's Bay 'brand' to the world, stating "while we couldn't have commenced this initiative without the fantastic financial support of the initial Hawke's Bay 'leaders'; we are going to look for ways to engage the entire Hawke's Bay community to support the Black Sticks as they prepare in their 'quest to be the best' at the London Olympics in 2012.

"We see this partnership as a unique and innovative way to promote Hawke's Bay … to the world!"

Black Stick's vice captain Shea McAleese grew up in Hawke's Bay and knows how supportive the community is.

"The Hawke's Bay is a pretty special place to come from – the community has been really supportive of me over the years. To have 23 leaders back us and to have the support from the wider community over the upcoming months is huge for the Black Sticks, it will make a big difference," says McAleese.

Both Black Sticks teams leave for Hobart this Saturday where they will compete in the Oceania Olympic Qualifier against Australia. The Oceania region has two Olympic allocations courtesy of world rankings for both men and women and with Fiji having pulled out; it gives Australia and New Zealand automatic qualification to the London Olympics.

The Black Sticks Men then take on the best in the world at the Champions Trophy from the 3rd to 11th December. The event which is screened to more than 38 million around the world, was recently relocated to Auckland after India lost the rights to host it.

Hawke's Bay Leader's Circle

John O'Sullivan – Tumu Timbers
Darren Diack and John Sarten – Gemco Construction Limited
John and Rose Roil – Cottages New Zealand
David and Pam Smith – Hastings Pak'n Save
Jenny Yule – Porse
Ray McKimm – Big Save
Andy Lowe – Lowe Corp
Bruce and Robyn Mactaggart – NZ Entertainment and Events Corporation
Garth Cowie – Port of Napier
Ken Sutherland – Unison
David Mackersey – Mackersey Developments
Peter Ellis – Farmlands
Iain Taylor Family
Rebecca Turner and Lyn Williams
Hamish Whyte – Furnware
Graeme Avery – Sileni
Ngahiwi Tomoana – Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated
Gavin Earle – Baywide Credit Union
Simon Tremain – Tremains – Colliers
Paddy Twigg – Hastings Health Centre
Claire Vogtherr and Neil Pulford
Damon Harvey and Anna Lorck – Attn Marketing
Rod Drury - Xero

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