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Wellington’s Village at the Park has become one of the first lifestyle villages in New Zealand to offer bocce after the ancient Italian sport graced its halls during Seniors’ Week.
An introductory ‘have a go’ session was run by Packaworld International CEO Peter Roberts, who showcased bocce to a group of intrigued residents using one of Packaworld’s world-first inflatable mini bocce courts.
Bocce is an ideal sport for people of all ages and abilities because it relies on skill rather than athleticism. The game shares a common heritage with bowls and petanque, but is played in a court with walls. This allows different strategies such as rebound plays.
Located on the site of Wellington’s former Athletic Park rugby ground, Village at the Park provides lifecare services and maintains apartments and villas for residents. Resident Eileen Woodward said she thought bocce was an enjoyable game with the potential to bring people together.
“It’s the first game I’ve taken part in for some time, and I found it was all about getting to know people. I’ve been here for three years, and playing has helped me to get to know people I haven’t met before.”
Fellow resident Ngaire Curtis agreed, saying the game was easy to pick up and provided a great opportunity to socialise and meet residents from around the village.
Village Manager Brian Leighton said introducing bocce as an activity for New Zealand’s retirement communities brought with it the health benefits of socialising and being physically active.
“Providing the best experience for residents so they can get the most out of each day is something that’s very important to us. Packaworld’s courts provide us with a new activity that brings people together to be active, meet new people and enjoy themselves. Bocce seems like a perfect fit.”
While bocce is popular sport in many countries around the world, including the USA, Turkey, Latin American nations and its country of origin Italy, it is not well-known in New Zealand outside of the Special Olympics community.
Bocce is gaining popularity in US retirement homes, 55+ communities, resorts and lifestyle villages, thanks in part to Packaworld’s bocce courts, which feature at high profile sites such as Willow Valley Communities (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), Friendship Village (Schaumberg, Illinois), Sunrise Senior Living (Illinois) and Holiday Touch (Sterling Court, Florida).
Packaworld’s courts have also helped spread the sport of bocce to other locations where it could not easily be introduced otherwise, including cruise ships, where the ability to transport and set up a court quickly and store it away with minimal space are prize commodities.