Already deemed the hottest ticket of the summer, the Lexus Urban Polo is not just a sporting day out, but a true celebration of expert pony-riding skills, summer fashion, music and exceptional hospitality – and all with a philanthropic edge.
Doing good in the community since its inception, the Lexus Urban Polo’s commitment to charity is a given, as well as a way for the sport to elevate its younger players and nurture the polo stars of the future.
Lexus Urban Polo managing director and founder Simon Wilson says that when the yearly event first kicked off, so too did a charitable partnership with Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, and for three years their support helped pay for many lifesaving rescues carried out by the essential service.SARAH WEBERLexus Urban Polo’s commitment to charity is also a way to nurture players of the future
Next, they turned their attention to Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, raising $42,000 in their first year as a partnership.
“One of the luxury marquees – Centuria – held a silent auction which helped us get to that figure,” he says, “their guests really got behind it and there were some amazing items snapped up on the day.”
Ah-Leen Rayner is the CEO Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, and says that the support they have received from Lexus Urban Polo has been absolutely invaluable when it comes to funding much needed services and support networks for those living with breast cancer. It’s also proven to be a fantastic place to raise awareness of their work and reaching a new audience when it comes to their ‘early detection’ message.
“Last year the polo players were wearing pink shirts, and our logos were everywhere, which meant it became a real talking point and allowed us to raise awareness around the issue as well as much-needed vital funds,” she says.
Ah-Leen Raynor from Breast Cancer Foundation says polo players wearing pink shirts, with the BCF logos raises awareness for their charity.
Some of the initiatives that donations have helped bring to fruition include the funding of a new pink campervan to take specialist breast nurses to regions they otherwise couldn’t easily reach, and a new program for nurses that will help better service women living with incurable breast cancer in terms of supporting them with the debilitating side-effects related to treatment protocols.
“We don’t receive any government funding,” adds Rayner, “so the money raised at events like the Lexus Urban Polo allows us to deliver invaluable support to the women who need us most.”
Lexus Urban Polo co-founder and ex-professional player, Sam Hopkinson loves the fact that so many younger players will also get the opportunity to compete at each event, and as a way of giving back to the sport, Lexus Urban Polo donates a state of the art ‘MVP Ainsley’ saddle to a deserving up and coming New Zealand player each year across the series.
2024’s Urban Polo events are shaping up to be bigger and better than before
“This initiative was designed to incentivise and reward young players that are starting out in the sport,” he says, “and Ross Ainsley, the founder of Ainsley Saddlery, is a long-time supporter of Urban Polo and has reinvented and innovated an entire line of polo gear now adopted by the best players in the world.”
Ross will be taking to the field at this year’s event, with Hopkinson adding: “we share the same goal for the growth of the sport, and want to see grass roots development with a real focus on youth polo in New Zealand.”
Simon Wilson says that 2024’s events in Auckland and Christchurch are shaping up to be even bigger than before, with well over a thousand people in private marquees alone and a luxe catering line-up like no other. Three VIP areas are also in place – silver, gold, and platinum – as well as a GA option that puts you directly in front of the DJ station where you’ll get to enjoy big local names like General Lee and Dick Johnson. The event has rolled out in Singapore over the last four years, and soon officially arrives in Australia.
“Urban Polo really is a mix of music, sport, fashion and food,” says Wilson, “as well as a fantastic opportunity to get together with friends in two of the most epic locations in the country.”
For more information on Lexus Urban Polo and to buy tickets visit https://www.urbanpolo.co.nz/buytickets