With 145 teams, and over 2,000 players and officials, the New Zealand Secondary School Volleyball Championships being held in Palmerston North next week rate as one of the largest team sporting participation events in the country.
Hosted in the city's large Arena Manawatu, 2014 marks the 46th consecutive running of the annual event by Volleyball New Zealand, a record that is not matched by many sports in the country.
As has been the case in recent years, the powerful Bay of Plenty region has again thrown up the favourites for both the Girls and Boys Championships; Western Heights High School (Rotorua) for the Boys, and Tauranga's Otumoetai College for the Girls event.
Several other strong contenders also come from the Bay of Plenty, with the South Island's Tasman region schools also expected to mount a strong challenge, to the North Island dominance.
The Auckland and North Harbour regions from Auckland City will also be represented by an increased number of teams, and will be sure to have some teams in contention at least at quarter-final stage.
In all, nine divisions will be contested; five in the Girls' section and four in the Boys'.
The tournament's first games commence on Monday 24th March at 8.15am, with the top division Finals late on Friday evening (28th March).
Photo: Action from the 2013 event