New Zealand's National Equestrian Centre at Taupo

(L-R) ESNZ high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout, the Minister of Sport, the right honourable Grant Robertson, National Equestrian Centre convenor Dr Wallie Niederer, Taupō district mayor David Trewavas and ESNZ president Richard Sunderland.

Photo by Diana Dobson/The Black Balloon


The future of New Zealand’s equestrian was toasted by some of the nation’s sporting leaders with the official opening of the National Equestrian Centre’s new international-standard indoor arena in Taupo.

The Minister of Sport, the Honourable Grant Robertson, officially opened the Centre and praised the efforts of the many volunteers who had worked tirelessly to raise the $3.5 million for the project, but particularly NEC convenor Dr Wallie Niederer who had created a true legacy, saying “Your driving energy has kept the project going. I hope you are proud today. It is a great pleasure to be here. I have heard a lot about it, but to see it (in person) is quite remarkable. It is a world class facility and a jewel in the crown.”

The footprint of the new building, which was started in April 2016, covers 65m x 75m and includes a big indoor arena with the same footing as was used at the London Olympic Games, seating for up to 300, a conference room, a mezzanine floor that affords views of inside and outside arenas, a cafe, commercial kitchen, offices and toilets.

“It is a long term investment in our young riders. This is where the next Sir Mark Todd, Blyth Tait and Jock Paget will come from.”

ESNZ high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout said the new centre would be extremely valuable for New Zealand’s riders of the future, allowing them to train in an environment that provide a smoother transition to the world stage.

There were many more plans for the future that would only add to the centre.

“I am very excited for the future,” she said. “This will allow us to keep up with our international counterparts. It is an opportunity for them to train and compete on a surface that will ensure longevity of our horses and to train through the winter months. It is also a chance for us to attract international coaches and where our high performance programmes can continue to grow.”

“The central location of the NEC mean it will be increasingly used by our performance and high performance programmes,” she said. “Already the eventing performance programmes have significantly benefitted from the additional quality training which is enhanced by having our performance development coach Jock Paget living so close by.”

Mrs Dalziell-Clout said it was critical for the nation to have a quality year-round training facility that also offered the ability to train and compete during the winter and at night – as is common all over the world. “The international surface in the new indoor not only protects the longevity of our horses, but better prepares them for global competition.”

She is looking forward to working alongside the NEC Committee to continue to develop the centre further

The centre also boasts an eventing cross country course across the grades, outdoor grass and sand arenas which are used for both dressage and showjumping, yards and a bridle path, among other facilities.


New Zealand Based Jock Paget will not only be riding at the new Centre but also coaching the next generation of eventing riders