Former Polo Association president Bruce McKelvie dies

Polo stalwart and former New Zealand Polo Association president Bruce McKelvie has died.

McKelvie, also known as BJ, died at home on Sunday, aged 68.

A big supporter of the sport, he was on the New Zealand Polo Association for more than 30 years and was the president from 2012 to 2014.

In his prime he was also a successful player, playing on a 5 handicap for many years.

He played for Rangitīkei in three Savile Cup finals, won the New Zealand open high goal in 1983 and won the Wilson Cup in 1978 and 1980.

He also won the Stead Cup in 1979 and Senior Handicap Cup in 1983 and 1986. His polo playing career included a brief stint in England.

The McKelvies have been heavily involved in polo for more than a century and the Rangitīkei club, which plays most of its games at Pukemarama at Tangimoana.

McKelvie’s father John was the New Zealand president in the early 1980s and his grandfather Rex in the early 1960s.

Bruce toured Zimbabwe and England with Central Districts teams, combining holidaying with their sport.

Bruce, who played until he was 43, had a serious mishap as a 20 year old. When practising on the Bulls polo ground, an opponent’s stick ran up his own and he lost an eye.

“I had two; that was all right,” he told Stuff in 2014. “It affected my distance perception, but I learnt how to get round it.”

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