Upon the news of the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a Kihikihi local recalled rare memories he shared with him, including putting a “goal in over the Duke’s head.”
In 1956, at the invitation of Viscount Lord Cowdray, a New Zealand polo team embarked on a month-long sea voyage across the Panama Canal to England with 17 horses loaded as deck cargo on the TSS Persic – these horses were purchased by Lord Cowdray following
The New Zealand team, Aotea, included Hamish Wilson of the Rangitīkei Club, Derick Glazebrook and AF Sandy Mackenzie of the Hawke’s Bay Club, Jack Masters a player from Hawke’s Bay, TC Lowry who was a junior and Tony Kay of the Kihikihi Club.
Hamish, Jack and Lowry sailed with the horses while the rest of the team travelled by plane at a later date.
“Lucky it was a calm crossing all the way, horses on the deck in a rough sea might have seen them all end up in the sea,” says Tony.
Their first match they played was at Windsor Park against the Hurlingham team which consisted of the Duke, Daphne Lakin, John Lakin and Peter Dollar.
Aotea were defeated by the Hurlingham team.
And in their next match they were also defeated; they had played against a Cowdray side.
Next up on the tour was the Neil Haig Cup which Aotea secured a win against Friar Park, 6 -1.
They then went on to compete in the Cowdray Park’s Gold Cup – consisting of three English teams, and Argentinian team and Aotea, says Tony.