I have not watched much showjumping before, but from what I have been told it is a very exciting spectator sport.
I am, however, very keen on big sporting events that boost our local economy. That is why the announcement yesterday that the first-ever showjumping test match to be played at a winery in New Zealand will be held at Church Road Winery in Taradale is exciting news indeed.
Even better for our economy is the confirmation that the Horse of the Year Show will continue to be held at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds in Hastings from 2013 to 2028. Fifteen years is a long time to have secured what is regarded as one of the three top events in the Bay, alongside the Mission Concert and Art Deco Weekend.
Equestrian Sport New Zealand owns the Horse of the Year Show and awarded the hosting rights to Horse of the Year Hawke's Bay Limited, which comprised Hastings District Council, Equestrian Sport New Zealand and Show Jumping Hawke's Bay.
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 owns the showgrounds venue.
The showjumping test match between Australia and New Zealand is a separate event to the Horse of the Year Show, but is being set up to complement it. It will be held on Sunday, March 10, which is the weekend before the Horse of the Year show starts.
It is good to see the Hastings District Council actively going out to secure events that are going to boost our economy. Even better, though, is the fact that the council has not allowed territorial boundaries to limit them by insisting the showjumping test match be held in their district.
The driving force behind this move was clearly Kevin Hansen from Event Pro, the management company, but the council could have made his decision difficult by insisting the test match be held at the showgrounds. It shows a mature approach that they agreed to it being held within Napier City Council's boundaries. This shows that the different councils can work together for the good of Hawke's Bay.
Hawke's Bay has so much to offer as a region and all efforts should, as in this case, be made to market it as a whole.