Christchurch has been selected to host the South Island’s first international display of the “game of kings” when Argentina takes on New Zealand’s best next month.
The high goal test match – the first of its kind to be hosted in the South Island – is expected to attract more than 2000 spectators in what organisers are calling a sporting spectacle like no other.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the match was a significant achievement for the city as it strengthens its position as a world-class city offering world-class events.
“This match has the ability generate an economic impact for our city and build a real profile within the international polo community,” he said.
“This is the first time that the South Island has hosted a high goal test match, which is just fantastic for our city.
“And for our country’s best polo players to take on the most famous club in Argentine polo history is a real testament to the high quality of sport we can offer in Christchurch,” he said.
The event will mark the first time for Argentina’s Coronel Suarez team to play in New Zealand.
The New Zealand team was recently named and includes Craig Wilson (6 goals) and Tommy Wilson (7 goals) from Waimai Club, Simon Keyte (7 goals) from Mystery Creek Club, and Sam Hopkinson (6 goals) from Auckland Club. Reserve Mark Harris (4 goals) hails from Christchurch Club.
In making the recent announcement, New Zealand Polo Association President Gordon Gibson said the national team was a top, internationally experienced team who would be outstanding opposition for the Argentine team.
“This will be the first time an international polo test has been hosted in the South Island and it will be an exciting spectacle for everyone who attends,” said Mr Gibson.
“To compete against one of Argentine’s – and for that matter, the world’s – most famous polo clubs right here in New Zealand is a real coup for the sport.
“And it’s a coup for the city of Christchurch so we hope to see a large turnout to witness this fantastic event,” said Mr Gibson.
The Stella Artois High Goal Test Match will be held at the A&P Showgrounds on Sunday 1 February 2009.
For more information contact Diane Brown, New Zealand Polo Association, 07 825 4833.
Or Robyn Fennell, Communications Advisor, Christchurch City Council, 03 941 8762.
The Coronel Suarez club was founded in 1926 and in a few years became the most recognised club in Argentine and world polo. The club is the most successful winner of the Argentine Open, winning the title 26 times between 1934 and 1983.
The Coronel Suarez team will arrive in Christchurch on Thursday 29 January.
The New Zealand team will arrive in Christchurch on Saturday 31 January.
Both teams will attend the pre-match sponsor’s party to be held at the Belgium Beer Café on Saturday 31 January 2009.