A new event is set to gallop into town this summer, kicking off with the inaugural Mystery Creek Festival of Polo on Friday 2 and Sunday 4 February 2024.
Situated on the private estate of polo legends John-Paul and Nina Clarkin, the Mystery Creek Polo Club's lush, green playing field is a spectacular tree-lined setting where a week-long tournament will culminate in two public events.
"This event is for everyone, even if you know nothing about polo", says local organiser Ammie Hardie.
"Regardless of your level of polo knowledge, you can't help but be transported into the game's intensity. The thundering gallop of hooves, manoeuvring, physical contact, and breaking away at full speed toward the goal makes you feel right there amongst the arena action", says Ammie.
The sport of kings is also ditching the ultra-exclusive traditions in favour of a family-friendly festival where food, drinks and non-stop polo action will take centre stage.
Punters can choose from a range of hospitality and VIP viewing options.
"We've also added a family-friendly picnic lawn and accessible ticket prices for the community to learn and enjoy the fast-paced action of polo," says Ammie.
"We want people to pack a picnic and come and enjoy a fun day out in a relaxed festival vibe".
"Both Friday and Sunday's events will have family-friendly entertainment, including bouncy castles and face-painting, so there will be no shortage of fun", says Ammie.
Friday afternoon is International Day, where New Zealand men's and women's teams will take on Australia in a Trans-Tasman Clash.
The New Zealand team has previously dominated the competition, and the long-lived rivalry between the two nations is sure to make for an exciting and competitive contest as New Zealand looks to secure the title this time.
Finals Day Sunday will bring together the eight top teams, where they will compete for the Mystery Creek Festival of Polo 2024 Champion Team for each grade.
Aside from watching polo, you can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink, hang out in the family-friendly picnic lawn and entertainment area and stomp the divots.
The event will host two international teams with players from all over the world and over 600 horses.
"We have a world-class polo facility right here in the Waikato, so I think we have a unique opportunity to embrace this local event," says Ammie.
Tickets are now on sale. While the event is family-friendly, the VIP tents and Corporate Hosting Marquees are only for ages 18 and up.
Visit www.festivalofpolo.co.nz for more ticket and match information.