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Meet the Wander Women of the Christchurch Golden Oldies

19 April 2018

Golden Oldies hockey player Ishbel Dickens’ love of the game has sent her all over the world, but today the Scottish-born player is in Christchurch for the 2018 Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration.

“I have been playing hockey for more than 50 years, starting in my grandparents’ back garden in Scotland, using my dad’s old hockey stick and playing with my twin sister,” Ms Dickens says.

She’s played for clubs in Scotland, England and the US and has travelled to Australia, South Africa, Scotland, England, Holland, Germany, Canada and the US to play hockey and is currently captain of the Seattle Women’s Field Hockey Club, where she is based.

This week, the 64-year-old playing a less serious and more social type of hockey, joining up with other senior sports lovers to take part in the Golden Oldies World Hockey Festival week in Christchurch.

Her team, the Wander Women, aptly named because they have travelled from seven different countries – the US, Canada, Scotland, England, New Zealand, Singapore and Holland.

Hockey Week is the third week of the month-long sports festival, which runs from April 1 – 29 and has seen thousands of brightly coloured senior sports enthusiasts light up Christchurch’s Hagley Park and surrounding sports venues.

Organised by Vintage Sport and Leisure (VSL) with the support of city promotions agency ChristchurchNZ, this year’s Golden Oldies marks the first time in history multiple sports festivals have been played in the same city, with 5000 participants taking part in a six-sport programme of netball, cricket, golf, hockey, rugby and lawn bowls.

ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Attraction Linda Falwasser says our city is the perfect destination to host the 2018 Golden Oldies sports celebration.

“As city hosts, we are thrilled to be welcoming one of Christchurch’s largest ever sporting events to our city and encourage the whole community to get involved, check out the games and enjoy the experience,” she says

For Ms Dickens and the Wander Women, the festive atmosphere of the Golden Oldies sets the event apart from the more serious sporting endeavours.

“We’re loving meeting up and playing with old friends, re-connecting with opposing teams and generally relaxing with like-minded people – at least as far as hockey is concerned!”