In a daring and visionary shift in strategy, Lawrence Yule, chairman of the Regional Sports Park Trust, has decided to abandon hockey as the anchor sport for the Park’s future.

In a post-deadline emergency LTP submission (secret because of “commercial sensitivities” but leaked to BayBuzz), the Trust has thrown in the towel stick on its $3.4 million proposal to build an international hockey turf at the sports park.

Instead, the Trust will propose a world-class jousting field with supporting amenities, costly only $2.5 million.

Says Mayor Yule: “We were approached by the International Jousting Federation, which has made a convincing case that jousting is the sport of the future. Apparently the Chinese love it. Right here in New Zealand, we already have 23 competitive jousters, many of them from Central Hawke’s Bay, and that number is projected to grow astronomically over the coming decade as sport enthusiasts look for the greater excitement of blood sports. I have visions of an International Jousting and Swordplay Academy. We see ourselves trading up … a big, sturdy lance that can inflict mortal wounds for a little stick that nicks ankles.”

BayBuzz is told the Federation has promised that at least two international jousting competitions per month would be held at the new facility, assuming it is built to international standards (which include blue turf for TV purposes and to deter horses from eating the artificial grass) and a by-law is enacted permitting unlimited sales of ale at the venue. International jousting competitions are known to draw competitors and spectators numbering in the tens of thousands, second only to Formula 1 racing.

Trust chief executive Jock Macintosh commented: “We think there are terrific synergies here between Horse of the Year and the jousting investment. Obviously both involve horses and expensive caravans. And the traveling entourages associated with jousting are even larger, what with all those ladies-in-waiting, blacksmiths, wenches and squires. We think the community will really buy into the spectacle, dressing up for the occasion … jousting will make Art Deco look like a kids costume party!”

“And think of the job opportunities. Right now, we’re working with EIT on a new apprentice program in armour fabrication,” he continued.

Every council’s favourite economist, Sean Bevin, puts the total lift to the region’s GDP at close to $1 billion per annum. “The economic multipliers are a bit more technical to calculate on jousting (for example, the impact on local costuming, tent rental, and armour industries), so I’ve erred on the conservative side,” he noted.

“There’s no question that jousting can become the lifeblood of the sports park,” said Yule, adding, “It really will … I promise.” He noted that Hawke’s Bay’s jousting fraternity is entirely unified around the new LTP proposal, “unlike the ugly and disappointing dissension that has arisen within our region’s hockey community.”

Yule indicated that HDC would seek special consideration to revise its own LTP submission to the Regional Council, which sought $2.5 million for a hockey turf. “It’s just a shell game; it won’t matter to them how we waste their money,” he observed. Asked about Napier’s reaction, he responded: “Hastings … big stick; Napier … little stick.”

Observed disappointed hockey turf advocate Bruce Mactaggart: “What next … marbles?”

Tom Belford

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4 Comments

  1. Well said – you either have to laugh or cry, and laughing is definitely my preferred option.

    My theory is that we are moving down the alphabet in search of a sport to fill "the gap". We started with Cycling, moving to Hockey, and then to?

    I had wondered about Lacrosse, but Jousting is better. We will know that we are near the end of the process when there is a proposal for a Zurkhaneh gymnasium.

  2. I mentioned this to a few young people (14 -20) and they absolutely lit up. And to be honest, as an old fart (55), this is really cool. I love this!

  3. Tom, OUTSTANDING SCOOP!

    Thanks for leaking this insider information… like Jon above I think it's a tremendous opportunity that will not only be full of fun and generate instant cash for the Bay (Hastings) but will also have a superb knock-on for swiftly driving home the point for new business at HBDHB and the plight that is our regional hospital… The injuries to tend subsequent to the eventing (mainly the Jousting; but with some allowance for overboard revelry and drunkenness on the free bar) must be seen to be believed – what a great idea… not only guaranteed work for Doctors and Nurses regionally but huge expansion of trade for Johnson & Johnson with bandages and sticky stuff; and Swann-Morton for all the surgical implements that will be required to scoop out dirt-filled jousting wounds… (not forgetting bumps and bruises; or worse, a fall from a horse. Clearly there will be loads of work for everyone; and maybe about time too (with this massive increase in business it should drive a phenomenal increase in earnings for everyone, to lift the region into boundless wealth to help move the region up one sorry little peg from being at the very bottom of the national league table.

    It's feasible that there may be two other niche areas that could latch onto the Jousting arena idea, tied with HOY too… read on:

    1) Going global with exchange visits to the jousting for the gypsy travellers of Northern England who would happily move over here to participate and trade from a "themed", specially built vending area on adjacent farmland – don't worry too much about the lost cropping land – we'll get that back ten-fold… with the Gypsy's hand whittled pegs and clumps of erica (Heather) for retail sale…

    But possibly best, and certainly better than fireworks and discharge of Strontium 90 into the Bay's air (together with the woodsmoke from the Gypsy Caravans – Oh, together with the locals primitive habit of felling trees to burn wood to keep mildly warm or excrutiatingly hot in a supposedly "Clean/Green/100% Pure" country (choking hypocrisy) …this next suggestion is real popular and it's making a HUGE comeback too, especially Stateside. Also on adjacent high quality/high value farmland build a launch pad for Saturn V rockets as a side-show to the jousting – with trips to the international space station maybe (need to look into this – Oh! no… it's HDC so we don't need to bother! ) …My imagining of the $$$'s to be made makes me feel queezy (and tired of these wild, thoughtless ideas). HDC needs to get a serious grip of reality – and MY rates money!

    Although; mmm…then again as mentioned at the start; I do agree with Jon, …Jousting would be pretty COOL! ;^}

  4. I reckon Mayor Arnott should go up against Lawrence Yule in a jousting competition. I won't say who I reckon will win!

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