A new Oceania event for bowls has been created ©Getty Images

World Bowls has set the dates for its new tournament for the Oceania region in partnership with Bowls New Zealand.

The Digicel Oceania Challenge is due to take place for the first time between April 14 and 17 at the Blockhouse Bay Bowling Club in Auckland.

It will feature 10 teams, including the Aotearoa Maori and the New Zealand under-26 side.

They will be joined by Pacific teams from Tonga, Fiji, Niue, Tokelau, Samoa, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Norfolk Island.

Aotearoa Maori and Tokelau will be making their debuts at this level.

Bowls has not been included in the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands or the 2025 Pacific Mini Games in Palau, so it is hoped the event can bridge a gap.

"It will be a true celebration of the cultures that make up our Oceania region, with players of all ages from teenagers through to some over 50 years of age, including some amazingly talented players who already have impressive records," said World Bowls' regional director for Oceania Brett O'Riley.

Teams such as Niue will compete at the event ©Getty Images
Teams such as Niue will compete at the event ©Getty Images

Each day's play will feature two qualifying sessions with the top teams going through to gold medal matches on the last day.

Teams will include five men and five women and singles, pairs, triples and fours will all be contested.

The Digicel Trophy will be presented to the team achieving the best combined result across the four disciplines.

"We are delighted to see the level of participation and interest from our local communities and diaspora, and Bowls Auckland are playing a huge part in the hosting of the event, which will hopefully stimulate further interest in our sport," said Bowls New Zealand chief executive Mark Cameron.

"We look forward to standing with mana whenua to welcome the visiting teams."