Last weekend New Zealand held the final qualification stage to assemble the team that will travel to Romania in 2021 to represent New Zealand at the Battle of the Nations in July. While July 2021 may seem a long way away, New Zealand, all the way in the South Pacific, is a great distance from Romania. The usual economic situation means that the New Zealand team needs a long time to raise funds to travel to compete. However, the year 2020 has been anything but usual, and the New Zealand National Federation had to adapt the qualification by tournament process in response to the needs of the local buhurt community, and the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dayna Berghan-Whyman, the HMBNZ President and the participant of the Big Boys Toys duel tournament told HMBIA News in great detail how the New Zealand HMB team was formed this year.
Back in July 2020, the New Zealand National Federation made the decision to split the qualifiers into two parts to make flexibility in case the regions closed due to a Covid-19 outbreak. September 2020 was the one-day tournament to determine the New Zealand buhurt team, called The Steel Blacks. November 2020 was the three-day tournament to determine the New Zealand duellists (1v1 fighters).
“The 26 September 2020 team qualifier one-day tournament went off without a hitch. The city of Wellington that is in the middle of the country, hosted the event and many teams were able to participate, giving Cody Hamilton, the HMB New Zealand team captain the ability to assess potential Steel Blacks members under several conditions. In addition, the team qualifier gave the New Zealand Authenticity officer Anna Gubinskaya, an opportunity to conduct offline/on site checks of weapons and armour and to pass on the recommendations to the local Authenticity Committee Representative and officer Eduard Sadrutdinov”, said Dayna.
Finally, on 13 – 15 November 2020 it was the time for the duellists’ three-day qualifier tournament, and this is where things got logistically interesting. The host city was Auckland, the biggest city, and the tournament was part of a massive motoring and lifestyle show called Big Boys Toys (BBT). The economic impact of Covid-19 had affected buhurt teams, and many fighters found themselves in the distressing situation that they had to decide on spending money to support their families or travelling to the tournament. In addition, on the day before the event opening a potential local Auckland community outbreak of Covid-19 was detected and the BBT event organisers had to take additional Health & Safety precautions. Not to be deterred, the New Zealand buhurt community forged ahead.
“All the HMB team qualification duels for Battle of the Nations 2021 and WMFC Profight were completed. As for me, I am one of the two female fighters in the Steel Blacks Team. Both of us will be mercenaries in the women’s buhurt at BotN 2021, and we will both be representing New Zealand in the duel categories. I will be the New Zealand representative for Poleaxe.
Also I am part of the organising of the women’s buhurt for BotN 2021. I`m doing this in my role as HMB Women’s Representative for New Zealand. I wear two hats to serve on my National Federation, President responsibilities and Women’s Representative of the country”, she noted.
According to Dayna, the host club organised 3v3 and 5v5 buhurt. In addition, for the sake of delivering the spectacle to the audience, the fighters took part in the experimental 2v2 buhurt category – a combination of duels and buhurt. It was certainly interesting and gave fighters and the marshal brigade both a mental and physical workout. The crowd loved the fast action!
“Starting 2021, the Steel Blacks social media will run small features on the New Zealand HMB team as we build excitement for 2021 BotN, local support for our team, and tell the world of our pride in our chosen HMB athletes”, said Dayna Berghan-Whyman.
HMBIA News thanks Dayna Berghan-Whyman for the interview and detailed report about the HMB New Zealand team formation process and of course we will be impatiently waiting to meet this team in the lists of the HMB World Championship Battle of the Nations 2021 in Romania.