Steve Hollander will bring ''all things country'' to Queenstown next year in the form of the inaugural New Zealand Rural Games. Photo supplied.
A two-day celebration of ''all things country'' will be held
in Queenstown next year during the inaugural New Zealand
The new event, to be held at the Queenstown Rec Ground at
Waitangi Weekend, February 7 and 8, will feature a host of
traditional country sports and celebrate New Zealand's rural
heritage for spectators and an international television
NZ Rural Games founder and trustee Steve Hollander said the
event had been a dream of his for a long time.
Organisers are working with Sport New Zealand and rural
sports associations around the country to develop new formats
for competitive wood-chopping, sheep-shearing, sheepdog
trials, Young Farmers competitions, speed-fencing,
coal-shovelling, speed gold-panning and other lesser known
It would also feature Highland games sports, live music and
entertainment and audience participation events including
cowpat-throwing and cherry stone spitting, along with kids'
activities and specialty food and market stalls.
Mr Hollander expects the games will attract top competitors
from New Zealand and Australia, including national and world
''My background is in farming and rural sports. During the
2011 Rugby World Cup, I helped showcase these as part of the
Real New Zealand Festival.
''It was a huge hit with domestic and overseas fans and gave
me the idea to create an annual event.
''New Zealand was built on farming and the economy still
relies on primary industries and the people who work in them.
The games are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this
essential part of our national character.
''We want to help continue the legacy of traditional sports
for future generations, bringing them to the attention of the
wider population and ensuring the country's rural spirit is
celebrated for many years to come.''
Mr Hollander's company, Cutting Edge Sport (CES), is managing
the event on behalf of the NZ Rural Sports Trust.
The non-profit trust's board includes New Zealand
professionals, among them former All Blacks captain and World
Cup winning coach, Sir Brian Lochore, Taranaki rural
spokeswoman Barbara Kuriger, as chairwoman, and other
representatives from the rural and commercial sectors.
• Mr Hollander said programme and ticketing details would be
announced soon. More information is available at www.ruralgames.co.nz