Pettigrew Green Arena hosted New Zealand’s inaugural men’s roller derby at the weekend, where two teams representing the upper and lower North Island bashed and crashed each other to international acclaim.

UK-based magazine Lead Jammer sent a correspondent over to cover the event, and US roller derby website has asked to live stream the December rematch – attention organisers have contributed to the “historical nature” of the event.

The teams comprised mostly players who refereed women’s matches, and a few others that showed interest, and were gathered by Hawke’s Bay Roller Derby (HBRD) which agreed to organise it.

“When we decided to put it together we had a bunch of people in mind who we knew wanted to get in on it,” HBRD founder and co-organiser Tania Allan said. “But after this weekend there are several teams starting up.”

Following the success of the evening, HBRD is looking to put together men’s teams for a transtasman clash in Australia next year, and the Euro Derby World Cup in 2014.

Although men’s roller derby was well established overseas, particularly in the UK, it had only just recently begun making its way across Australasia.

“There was some doubt about whether there was room for men’s roller derby in New Zealand and I think the event on Saturday proved those doubters wrong, so we’re really proud.

“We recognised there was a demand for men’s derby in New Zealand and no one was doing it. I actually think we’re going to see a lot more men’s derbys, a lot quicker, than we expected.”

She said the men’s matches were played at a much faster pace than the women’s.

“There is no extra physicality in terms of the rules of the game. It is just more a case of everything they do is more powerful and more forceful. It was still a really safe game.”

The rematch is scheduled to take place in Napier in December.

Corey Charlton
Hawke’s Bay Today

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