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words by niall roeder
Men with mallets riding horses, summer casual couture, and bubbles by the bottle; Heineken Urban Polo is coming to Wellington.
Ian Galloway Park, surrounded by Wellington’s photogenic hills, will host two games of polo February 11. This will be the first leg of the four-team tournament, which is spread across two dates, the other being in Auckland February 25.
It might be known as the sport of kings (not sure who actually calls it that), polo isn’t solely reserved for filthy rich royalty and the pompously annoying. The Heineken Urban Polo series brings what many think of as an uppity sport to the people. There will be no smugness here! There’s also a lot more to the day than just the polo tournament – it’s as much about the fashion, wine and music, as it is the gee-gees. And that is fine with us.
The polo field will be smaller than normal, bringing spectators as close to the action as possible, and when the games have wrapped up the horses will trot off to the stables and the DJs will trot on stage to get the party started.
For those nodding as if they know all about polo, but actually have no clue, here is the seriously summarised breakdown of what it is. Polo is a team sport dating back to 6th century BC in Persia. It’s a three to four player hockey-like game, in which competitors gallop around on horseback wildly swinging a long-handled hammer at a little white ball. Breakdown over.
Much like when visiting the racetrack, what one wears to polo is something to be considered. The fashion isn’t as full on as it is for a major carnival, however you don’t want to be rocking up in jandals and yoga pants. Summer casual, clean looks and smart detailing is the aim of the fashion game. For the gals we’re talking flowing dresses, wedges or sandals (no need for heels), and summer hats and accessories. As for the fellas it’s tailored shirts, dress shorts or chinos, with loafers or boaties. And don’t forget a pair of shades.
Heineken Urban Polo Wellington is on February 11.
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