The group of officials came from 6 different nations (AUS, Fiji, NZL, PNG, SOL and VAN) and quickly gelled to form an amazing team. One of the key changes from the past was that this event allowed the majority to be accommodated together rather than staying with their teams. It worked so well that Oceania will look to take that as the model to use in the future. In the past the Pacific Island offcials have been accommodated with their teams but that has been a strategy to encourage NAs to recognise the importance of appointing national umpires and technical officials to fund and travel with their teams. It was great to see a change in acknowledging the importance of having NA officials gaining experience this year, firstly with the World Cup Qualifier in the Gold Coast in July and then with a flood of nominations in for the Pacific Games. The Pacific Games Council had identified that for these Games they wanted to build capacity and capability and encouraged the sports to appoint as many Pacific Island officials as possible. So out of the 23 officials appointed for hockey 15 were Pacific Islanders.
One of the positive outcomes was the appointment of 5 Solomon Islanders to officiate. Samson Auga, has been to a number of Oceania events in the past and had done a superb role over the past 18 months supporting the Solomons Islands Hockey squads with rules awareness sessions and umpiring their Sunday matches. A call out in September saw 4 others identify that they would be willing to train as officials – Samson Aenagari, Felistus Mepirke, Cathy Alokini and John Utusia. All 4 attended trainings and matches leading up to the games with Samson Auga showing them how to fill out match sheets. By the end of the tournament all were proficient Judges able to time, score or use the live FIH TMS computer program.
Like other events in the Pacific the officials had to be adaptable as there was no electronic scoreboard, the wifi very variable, there were no flagpoles, the enthusisam of the vocal crowd resulted in having to create a barrier of tape and cones to maintain security for the team benches and technical area, as well as trying to compete with the enthusiastic kids blowing horns to support their team !. As you can see from the photos below the group used their initiative and Gill Gemming, as TD used her contacts with other sports, to obtain scoring options from the recently finished table tennis competition. Although there some bits missing the decision was to use the available funding to create the new hockey pitch with surrounding changing rooms and office, to have 4 competition goals and provide equipment, such as 6 dozen balls and a technical kits to enable hockey to continue to build in 2024.
Flags attached to the fence 2x Table tennis score boards Extra cones and tape to provide space Spectators with their horns !! Officials mode of transport
Officials in Action:
John, Cathy, Samson and Epeli John , Kerry and Brendan with UM Craig Cathy, Carol, Josie and Kelly-Anne Samson, Ernest, Samson with Anton
Umpires Ready for Action :
Ben Hosking, Brendan Bon and Anton Paulin Epeli Tukuca, Michelle Farnhill with Anton Liliy Isaiah, Brendan and Kelly-Anne Foskin Anton, Frank Vira and Epeli