Serious jousting event goes global

Last updated 10:25 23/01/2013
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PETER McDONALD

Near miss: Event winner in 2011 Fred Piraux, from Belgium, blocks an attack from a wooden spear.

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Next month's medieval jousting tournament at Harcourt Park has been named by the CNN travel website among six places around the globe to watch "unstaged and unscripted competitive jousting".

The website has focused on jousting as a serious sport with increasing interest and has highlighted Upper Hutt's Medieval Tournament in the top six locations world-wide for 2013.

The website says a "new breed of modern athletes and equestrians exchange hard hits on horseback, opportunities are multiplying for modern spectators to see this most extreme of extreme sports".

"Modern day jousting retains that goal. While you can see plenty of staged combat featuring fake Old English banter and theatrical falls at the renaissance fair or theme park of your choice, there are now quite a few places around the world to see the real thing.

"If you've ever wanted to travel back in time to see a man in a metal suit carrying a very big stick, 2013 is the year to do it."

It says the scenic wilds of Upper Hutt stood in for Rivendell, Isengard and Helm's Deep in The Lord of the Rings movies, "but the jousting at the Harcourt Park World Invitational Jousting Tournament is absolutely real".

The 2013 joust will feature some of the best competitors from three continents, among them Australia's Justin Holland and Norway's Petter Ellingsen.

It says the tournament, which also features foot combat, battle displays, archery competitions and living history activities, typically draws as many as 10,000 spectators.

Event organiser and jouster Callum Forbes says this recognition is great for this year's event on February 16 and 17.

Being able to attract jousters this year from Sweden, Belgium, the United States, Canada, and Australia can only be done by reaching high standards and having great supporters like the Rimutaka Trust, he says.

See link to CNN Travel website http://travel.cnn.com/modern- renaissance-real-jousting- tournaments-340041. The jousting tournament website is www.jousting.co.nz.

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- Upper Hutt Leader

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