World Bowls in partnership with Bowls New Zealand are extremely excited to launch the 2023 Digicel Oceania Challenge which will be a four-day tournament commencing on Friday April 14th and concluding on Monday April 17th to be staged at the Blockhouse Bay Bowling Club in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Digicel Oceania Challenge will for the first time ever bring together 10 international bowls teams from Aotearoa Maori, New Zealand Under 26, Tonga, Fiji, Niue, Tokelau, Samoa, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Norfolk Island. Aotearoa Maori and Tokelau are making their debuts at this level which is exciting for the players and their communities.

Regional Director Oceania for World Bowls, Brett O’Riley said the event will be a festival that will showcase Maori and Pacific cultures. Players will represent their island nations of origin, some resident in those islands, many residents in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia as part of the diaspora in both countries.

“It will be a true celebration of the cultures that make up our Oceania region, with players of all ages from teenagers through to some over 50 years of age, including some amazingly talented players who already have impressive records”, said Mr O’Riley.

Each day’s play will feature two sessions of qualifying, with the top teams progressing to the gold medal matches on the final day. Teams will be comprised of five men and five women, who will compete in all disciplines of bowls, including singles, pairs, triples, and fours. This will be the first ever International Bowls’ tournament for many of the participating players and countries. There will also be an overall Digicel Trophy for the most successful combined result across the four disciplines.

The Digicel Oceania Challenge will be an exciting opportunity for these countries to come together and compete on a world stage and promote and develop the sport of Bowls in the Oceania region.

Bowls NZ CEO Mark Cameron said it is a chance to highlight the growth of participation in the local game by Maori and Pacific players, in the world’s largest Polynesian city, Tamaki Makaurau Auckland.

“We are delighted to see the level of participation and interest from our local communities and diaspora, and Bowls Auckland are playing a huge part in the hosting of the event, which will hopefully stimulate further interest in our sport. We look forward to standing with mana whenua to welcome the visiting teams”, said Mr Cameron.

The competition will be a great opportunity for all players to prepare for the World Championships to be played on the Gold Coast, Australia from August 29th – September 10th 2023.