Massive NZ and Australian rural sporting weekend about to kick off

The 4th Annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games will be a massive weekend of rural New Zealand sports.

Held in The Square, Palmerston North, the Games are New Zealand’s premier celebration of rural sports attracting more than 200 athletes from a diverse range of disciplines from both sides of the Tasman.

New Zealand Rural Games Founder and Trust Board Member Steve Hollander says the aim is to celebrate rural sports, provide rural athletes with a national platform on which to perform and deliver some welcome light relief for everyone.

“It is a free fun event for families, and there is always something to watch or do.”

“The 2018 Games will include the old crowd favourites the ANZAXE, Speed Shear, Highland Heavies and Sheep Dog Trials,” says Mr Hollander.

“Kiwis have led the world in a multiple of rural sporting disciplines, and the Games are a unique opportunity to see champions from many disciplines as they face off local and international completion.”

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says the Games celebrate all that is good about New Zealand.

“We are about to kick off ten days of rural celebrations. More than 45,000 people will attend the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games, Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards, Property Brokers Running of the Wools, Central Districts Field Days, Balance Farm Awards, Plate of Origin and the huge array of events through the New Zealand Agrifood Investment Week.”

Trans Tasman championships

  • Speed Tree Climbing
  • Highland Rural Games Heavies

New Zealand championships:

  • New Zealand Speed Shear Champs
  • New Zealand Speed Fencing Championships
  • New Zealand Coal Shovelling Championships
  • New Zealand Harness Racing Gearing Up Championships
  • New Zealand Olive Stone Spitting Championships
  • New Zealand Gumboot Throwing Championships

World Record Attempt:

Nicky WardAllen, the New Zealand Arboriculture Association’s New Zealand Women’s Champion will attempt a world record for the Footlock – the attempt will take place at 5:30pm on Saturday 10 March in The Square, Palmerston North. If WardAllen secures the record from the USA’s Jamilee Kempton that will mean New Zealand will hold both the Men’s and Women’s world records.

Mr Hollander says the Games are not just for rural athletes. “We want city and country folk alike to get in there, get dirty and give it a go.”

Opportunities to give it a go are divided into two events that run both days – they are:

  • Kids ‘n Country – Under 12’s have a multitude of events available for them to take part in including Cow Pat Throw; 3Legged Race; Sack Race; Egg Throw and Catch; Wine Barrel Racing; Digger Challenge; Gumbiputt; TugoWar and plenty more.
  • Have a Go – this is where you, your friends, family or workmates get to challenge each other across a whole range of events throughout both days including Gumboot Throw; Olive Stone Spitting; Harness Racing Gearing Up; Coal Shovelling; Wine Barrel Racing; Egg Throw & Catch and Russian Egg Roulette.
  • Give it a Go – Cow Pat Throw; Kids Tree Climbing; Speed Milking and Hay Stacking.

Andrew Davis, General Manager of Marketing at Toyota New Zealand says the games help bring kiwis together to celebrate our rural heritage.

“New Zealand has a strong, vibrant rural history and the games are a showcase of our connection to the land and the cultural elements of rural life that helped build this nation,” says Mr Davis.

A dozen food trucks will be on hand, and for those wanting to wine and dine throughout the day, there is a Corporate Marquee thanks to Alliance, Allan Scott Family Wines and Tui Brewery which has created the first New Zealand Rural Games Beer.

The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games kicks off on the 9th of March in Feilding with the Property Brokers Running of the Wools – 1,000 sheep from Potaka Station are herded through Feilding and various competitive matches amongst rural service organisations and schools. Plus the odd celebratory.

On Friday night is the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards at Awapuni. This year All Black Coach Steve Hansen and double Olympian Eric Murray are two of the leading Kiwi sporting stars who will be present.

For a full list of events, please visit

For more information:
Steve Hollander
Founder – New Zealand Rural Games
+64 21 973 207



Massive NZ and Australian rural sporting weekend about to kick off

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