World record attempts, sporting stars, Trillian Trek & more free events for children

The 5th Annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games offering is heavily focused on free events for children, with a growing array of activities, and our popular events have been bolstered to reduce wait times.

Held in The Square, Palmerston North, the Games are New Zealand’s premier celebration of rural sports, attracting more than 200 athletes from a diverse range of disciplines from both sides of the Tasman.

Andrew Davis, General Manager of Marketing at Toyota New Zealand, says the Games help bring Kiwis together to celebrate our rural heritage.

“The magic of the games is in bringing New Zealand’s rural sports all together in one location. These are heritage sports, so we don’t get to see such high calibre competition often, so it makes for a spectacular show and a celebration of the cultural elements of rural NZ life.” says Mr Davis.

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says the Rural Games marks the start of ten days of rural festivities in the region.

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says the Rural Games marks the start of ten days of rural festivities in the region.

“We are one of New Zealand’s few urban cities that are still connected to the land, as well as being the agri-food hub of our nation and last year more than 60,000 people attended dozens of rural-focused events across the ten days from the Games through to the Central Districts Field Days.”

New Zealand Rural Games founder and trust board member Steve Hollander says the aim is to celebrate rural sports, provide rural athletes with a national platform on which to perform, and deliver some welcome light relief for everyone.

“At its heart it is a fun event for families and whānau. We want to encourage young and old alike to have a go at something new.

“We have the old crowd favourites the ANZAXE, Speed Shear, Highland Heavies and Sheep Dog Trials,” says Mr Hollander.

“There’ll be two world record attempts this year, in the tree climbing foot lock and hold, and egg throw and catch.

“This year, the Kids ‘n Country area will be larger than ever with inflatable footy fields, throwing walls, three self-drive diggers, tree climbing, miniature horse sulky rides and much more.

“The food court will be transformed into a Farmers Market on both days and for the first time we’ll be showcasing what is on offer around the Central North Island.”

The Games will be awash with celebrity sports people, from netball’s Irene van Dyk and Katrina Gore (nee Grant) through to world cup sevens captain and local Sarah Hirini (nee Goss), extreme fisher Matt Watson and the immensely popular Jordan Watson aka How to Dad. Plus the mad cap team from Trillian Trek will crash the Games on Sunday afternoon.

For a full list of events, please visit

For more information:

Steve Hollander
Founder – New Zealand Rural Games
+64 21 973 207