Elderly take to Christchurch for Golden Oldies sports festival

Over a thousand senior citizens have landed in Christchurch for the international Golden Oldies sports festival.

The teams from 16 different countries travel the world, playing each other in a different city every two years.

Beverley Rich may be 74, but she still knows her way around a netball court.

The Napier resident is an international - she's played in six different countries.

"Even those it's supposed to be Golden Oldies, it's always fiercely competitive, we always like to win," she said.

The 28-year veteran is in Christchurch with the touring Golden Oldies sports festival, which visits a different city every two years.

Five-thousand senior citizens are flying in over the next month to play netball, cricket, rugby and other sports.

"That equates to around a $15 million economic impact for the city of Christchurch," festival organiser Simon Brady said.

It was a clash of two cultures at the opening parade across Hagley Park on Sunday night.

The netballers arrived in elaborate costume, while the cricketers went for a more conservative approach. On the cricket pitch Monday morning, it was all business.

"They're a bit younger than us, but we're enjoying ourselves," said Australian Golden Oldie Barry Johnson.

While true to form, the netballers let their hair down.

Putting their back into it was a team from Western Australia, known as the Fossils.

"We don't have winners - we just have fun, fraternity and friendship," said players Miriam Pedlar and Fran Harken.

They didn't keep score - but who needs to when you're having this much fun?