Rural Games Weekend bringing together the legends of rural sports & raising funds for Cyclone Gabrielle relief

The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games is returning to Palmerston North on March 10 -12, 2023. This annual event celebrates the country’s rural sporting heritage and showcases a variety of unique and entertaining competitions.

Visitors can watch and participate in a wide range of events, from the famous Sheepdog Trials, Highland Games and Gumboot Throwing to the more unusual events such as the Speed Shearing and Cow Pat Throwing competitions. There’s something for everyone at the

New Zealand Rural Games, including food trucks and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Highlights include:

The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games celebrates our country's rural heritage and showcases some of our oldest sports along with some quirky ones like egg roulette and cowpat throwing,

said Steve Hollander, the event’s founder.

This year's event promises to be even bigger and better than ever, and we can't wait to welcome visitors from around the country and beyond.

Comedians Jono and Ben and social media influencer Tangaroa Walker will join in for some hijinks. Laureus World Sports Awards nominee and dual Paralympian Cameron Leslie MNZM, former All Black Captain and one of the greatest flankers in history – Ian Kirkpatrick MBE, as well as the 9th fastest bowler on the planet, Adam Milne who will Have a Go at Egg Throw & Catch thanks to Property Brokers. Our MC line-up includes broadcasters: Jamie McKay, Rowena Duncan, Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins and Craig ‘Ferg’ Fergusson.

Held annually in Palmerston North, Mayor Grant Smith said the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games is a must-see event for anyone who loves sports, outdoor activities, and all things rural.

“Rural New Zealand has received a battering in recent weeks, and it’s important that we support rural sporting groups and communities through events like this.”

The New Zealand Rural Games Trust works hard to ensure its events are free to the public.

The Trust runs several scholarships for rural youth entering tertiary study and supports charities such as Rehoming Standard Bred Horses and Working Dogs and Gumboot Friday.

Chair Margaret Kouvelis said this year, you’ll see those charities back at the Games and a big push to raise funds for Cyclone Gabrielle relief.

“Our neighbours are doing it hard right now; the scale of the disaster is unprecedented. Given that, for the first time, we will fundraise to support those who are having to rebuild their lives, farms, orchards, vineyards and businesses.”

Digital welcome signs at the games will display a QR code for fundraising for rural communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. An auction will be held at the NZ Rural Sports Awards on Friday evening at Awapuni, and the Rural Challenge Charity Golf Day on Thursday, March 9, will donate 80% of funds raised to the relief effort.

The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games will be live-streamed and featured in the TV3 Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games 1-hour highlight programme hosted by Greg O’Connor and Olivia Caldwell:

  • TV3 | Saturday, March 25th, 2023, at 5.00pm

  • TV3 | (Easter weekend replay), Saturday, April 8th, 2023, at 9.30am.

Sign up for our Whotsonwhere App – a new events scheduling app. If you register at the Games, you’ll go in the draw for a

Winter Weekend Getaway in Queenstown valued at up to $5500.

Thanks to

Palmerston North City Council who will provide free overflow parking on Railway Reserve land a short 5-minute walk from The Square.

Horizons Regional Council who will provide free bus services in Palmerston North, Ashhurst and Feilding for Saturday and Sunday.



Rural Games Weekend bringing together the legends of rural sports & raising funds for Cyclone Gabrielle relief

Subscribe to our Newsetter