Excitement is building with only a month to go until New Zealand’s most famous polo event. The BMW NZ Polo Open, to be held at the Auckland Polo Club in Clevedon, will be staged on February 20.
This year marks the 45th year of this prestigious event, with six teams competing for the nation’s top polo trophy. While the event will be without international polo players this year, the calibre of the teams will be particularly competitive, promising to deliver an exhilarating showcase of the best in New Zealand Polo.
For the first time since the event was founded, two South Islanders will each captain a team. Cantabrian’s Pete Dormer and George Cooper-Dixon will travel north with their horses to compete in the Open. This will be Christchurch-based George’s first appearance on the Auckland Polo Club field and third for Pete.
Pete captained the NZ Polo Open winning team in 2016 and has another strong team this year. Joining him will be local Auckland-based James Worker, renowned polo sportsman Cody Forsyth, and the talented and currently New Zealand’s highest ranked player, Thomas Hunt.
Clevedon’s Jones’ family, whose last name is synonymous to polo, created their team with three Jones players—including Edward Elworthy-Jones, the youngest player in the tournament at just 18.
The Keyte brothers Simon and Nick will take to the field together. Waikato’s ‘Mystery Creek’ dynamic duo of JP Clarkin and Kit Brooks, having won the NZ Polo Open three times together, will be one to watch as well.
“This summer has been fantastic for New Zealand polo, with the weather allowing play to start earlier than usual. All our teams are ready and waiting in anticipation for our biggest and most coveted tournament of the season,” says BMW NZ Polo Open Executive Director Lucy Ainsley.
She adds, “Team practices have been running since early January, so the BMW NZ Polo Open games are sure to be nail biters as plays and tactics have been a long thought-out process for the teams this year. It will without doubt be the best polo that will be played this season, followed by players joining our guests for a night of celebration on the polo field under the stars. There really is no polo or event like this.”
To complement the action on the field, there will be plenty of exceptional hospitality and sideline action with an exciting new twist on Fashion at the Polo. The ‘Horsepower’ race between a BMW and a polo pony will be sure to entertain just before the main polo match.