The first showjumping test match to be played at a winery in New Zealand will be held at Taradale's Church Road, complementing a decision to award Hastings the hosting rights for the Horse of the Year Show for the next 15 years.
Equestrian Sport New Zealand owned the Horse of the Year Show and this week confirmed it would continue to be held at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds in Hastings from 2013 to 2028.
The hosting rights were awarded to Horse of the Year Hawke's Bay Ltd, which comprised Hastings District Council, Equestrian Sport New Zealand and Show Jumping Hawke's Bay.
One of its directors and Hastings deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers said Showjumping Hawke's Bay started the event in 1999 and it had been managed by Kevin Hansen from Event Pro.
"Mr Hansen, Showjumping Hawke's Bay and Equestrian Sport New Zealand agreed there needed to be a new governance structure in place to help move the event forward," Ms Bowers said.
The show was considered one of the top three events in the Bay, alongside The Mission Concert and Art Deco Weekend. It contributed about $12 million to the regional economy.
The 15-year hosting term would allow further planning to develop the event and that was the subject of discussion with the Hawke's Bay A&P; Society, which owned the showgrounds venue.
"It is fair to say that some of the facilities need to be upgraded and so we are having discussions around what our requirements are moving forward," Ms Bowers said.
"Having the hosting rights for 15 years gives us a whole lot of certainty and gives the A&P; Society certainty that we will be a long-term tenant."
Mr Hansen's Event Pro would continue to manage the event and he agreed the long-term arrangement would help develop the show further.
"The council's involvement as a third shareholder partner will help us reach our dreams," Mr Hansen said.
It included this week's announcement of a showjumping test match between Australia and New Zealand which will be held at Church Road Winery, Taradale.
It will be a separate event to the Horse of the Year Show but the two are being set up to complement each other. The test match will be held on Sunday, March 10, 2013, the weekend before the show starts in Hastings. It will also be the first transtasman showjumping international to be held at a winery in New Zealand.
"The showgrounds get thrashed over the course of the Horse of the Year so we wanted to bring them [showjumping test players] somewhere special, a boutique environment, and Church Road is an ideal place for it.
"It's part of the Long White Cloud six-week tour we've invented which starts in the South Island."
Mr Hansen said he would like to see European competitors and their horses be part of a tour Downunder.
"I know it's a huge ask because of restrictions [around importing animals] but I would like to run the best 10-day equestrian event here in Hawke's Bay and the best 10 days for equestrian in Sydney for two weeks. The idea is to provide an opportunity for Europeans to have three weeks of top competition in this part of the world."
Mr Hansen said he would like to have the initiative running by 2014 but was concentrating on the new-look 2013 Horse of the Year Show and the test match.
"We are going to have some wealthy people from all over New Zealand and Australian and they are going to be in town spending money in Hawke's Bay so it's an ideal situation to take advantage of that. There will also be media here for the test from around the world."