Blue Steel achieves silver at Rainbow Games

Tauranga’s Blue Steel came second at the Rainbow Games Derbys 8s. Photo: BradK Photography.

They may have been blue on the track but Tauranga’s roller derby league have returned home with silver from the Rainbow Games in Auckland at the weekend.

Playing as Blue Steel, the team - made of mainly Moana Roller Derby skaters - played four games of Derby 8s to finish second at the inaugural event.

The eights format sees teams play intense 21-minute games with no breaks, says team captain Jessica Stewart.

Facing off against Hamilton’s Black ‘n’ Bruised in their first game, Blue Steel won 98-52.

The next game saw Blue Steel trounced by the Australia/Auckland team Rockabellas 80-37.

Blue Steel managed to beat Rotorua’s Lavender Rage 77-46 for a place in the finals but the Rockabellas proved unbeatable winning the game and tournament with a resounding 122-27 final score.

Jessica says the league was proud to be part of the Rainbow Games.

“Roller derby is a really inclusive sport so it was a really special experience for us.”

Opportunity to have a go

Rollerskating has seen a resurgence in recent years, from people teaching themselves to skate during lockdowns to superstars like Pink and Usher skating on stage and in music videos.

Tauranga’s roller derby league isn’t new to the craze but is trying to make the sport more accessible to the masses.

Moana Roller Derby has broadened its offering in the past year to entice more people on to eight wheels.

League chairperson and head coach Jessica Stewart says they have a range of activities open to the public this year including a 70s themed roller disco next week.

“So many of the people who come to our classes skated as kids and grew up going to roller discos,” says Jessica, aka Her Madjessty.

A 10-week Learn to Skate course starts in Term 2 and those who want to can continue with a Learn to Derby course in Terms 3 and 4.

Term 4 will see the popular SkateFit classes return, which was created last year after the league noticed a gap in local offerings for adult skating classes.

“We want to bring back some of that nostalgia with fun costumes, a great playlist and some awesome prizes.”

The roller disco is at the Mount Sport Centre on Thursday, April 11, from 6.30-8.30pm and money raised from it will go towards buying new hire skates, enabling the league to get more people on skates.

Skate Fit is a mixture of fitness drills and strength exercises on rollerskates and is open to the public as well as Moana’s own members.

All of Moana’s events and classes are open to those aged over 16, giving adults a chance to safely practise their skills.

“There are some great options for kids and teens who want to skate but we want to give adults similar opportunities.”

The league also has more informal street skates and ramp sessions and encourages all of their skaters to join in, says Jessica.

“Roller derby is widely known as an inclusive sport, we offer lots of support and guidance in a judgment-free space.”

Moana Roller Derby events - all held at Mount Sport Centre

70s Roller Disco: Thursday, April 11, 6.30-8.30pm

Learn to Skate, 10 weeks from Monday, April 29

Learn to Derby, two terms from Monday, July 22

Skate Fit: Mondays (Term 1 and 4), 7-8pm

For more details, head to their Facebook page




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