Grit, glamour and gallop: apparently Waiheke has it all

Beach Polo is coming to Waiheke Island.

Beach Polo is coming to Waiheke Island.

Horseplay on Waiheke is about to go high-class with an elite polo match bound for Onetangi Beach.

There were reports in early 2016 that a plan for Onetangi Beach Polo had been blocked by the Waiheke Local Board but that is not the case. 

In March 2018, Onetangi Beach will be New Zealand's first location to host a beach polo tournament. 

"The event was postponed because Waiheke had no policies around the commercial use of public space.

"The Waiheke Local Board is in the process of sorting this out.

"After this, the event will happen," Waiheke Local Board member Bob Upchurch said. 

This is good news for the 1100 Facebook users 'interested' and the VIPs - with all VIP tickets sold out. 

The event, which will be an annual affair, is endorsed by the International Beach Polo Association.

New Zealand is the 18th country in the world to get that endorsement.

Event organiser Amy Calway said it was because Waiheke was the perfect fit. 

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"The sandbanks on Onetangi Beach are the perfect setting for the game.

"And Waiheke has a huge influx of tourists - many of which are multi-millionaires who, once they have experienced the wineries, are looking for something to do."

Calway said the event will entice tourists outside the summer season, which Waiheke needs.

"As New Zealand's only beach polo tournament, it is expected to attract national and international guests as well as leading polo players, media and celebrities," Calway said. 

​More than fifty prized horses and a dozen polo players will gallop onto Onetangi's sandy shores for a chance to claim the coveted cup.

Beach polo is played in an area about one-tenth the size of the field game, with varying surfaces of sand.  

Anthony McNamara from All Good Food Waiheke will cater the event and The Real Housewives of Auckland's Anne Batley-Burton will provide Champagne Jaquart.

There will also be a 'Fashion on the Beach' competition and a collection of live music with Pandora doing Beach Polo FM.

The event is free for public spectators. 

 - Stuff

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