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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 26/05/2022.
Jade Findlay and Oaks Cordelia competing at the 2019 Oceania Championships in Taupo, New Zealand
Photo credit: Kirsty Pasto

Tradition, Trans-Tasman and the Journey to Oceania 2022

The 2022 Oceania Championships will take place alongside the Melbourne International 3 Day Event from the 9th – 13th June at Werribee National Equestrian Centre, Victoria.

Twelve Australian combinations will compete against the Kiwis in a showdown that provides athletes with the opportunity to gain Championship-level experience as part of a representative team in the Southern Hemisphere. 

2015 Australian Young Rider Team

The friendly biennial championship has served as a springboard for emerging talent and has provided an introduction to the international stage for many of Australia's most successful riders. 

The Championship, formerly known as the Trans-Tasman, commenced in 1985, with the inaugural event held in Gawler, South Australia. 

The original concept of the event was to allow riders from both Australia and New Zealand, who had never ridden at Gawler before, the opportunity to experience the event and terrain ahead of the World Championships the following year, which were set to be held at the same venue.

The notion of a Trans-Tasman tournament was so popular that it was decided the event would be held every two years, with each country alternating as host. 

The event's biennial nature was created to coincide with the years between the Olympic Games and the FEI World Equestrian Games, providing a Championship experience in every calendar year.

Although the friendly competition took place every two years, the event would alternate between Senior Teams and Young Rider Teams. The competition was combined for the first time in 2015, at the event hosted by New Zealand, whereby both a Senior Team and Young Rider Team competed at the same event.

Since its inception in Gawler in 1985, the competition has been staged in a number of Australian cities, including Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney. The New Zealand events have taken place on the North Island at Taupo and Kihikihi. 

Originally known as 'Trans-Tasman' the name was changed to 'Oceania' in 2014 to align with the foundation of the Oceania Equestrian Federation.

The federation was formed to promote equestrian sports throughout Oceania and to increase the visibility of events between Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific Island nations. The Federation has since dissolved, but the Oceania Championships' legacy continues on. 

The Oceania Championships have a rich history; as it has often been the first team opportunity for many of Australia's most successful riders, some of whom have gone on to achieve Olympic success.

2009 Oceania Championships

The esteemed Oceania Championships, like the sport of Eventing itself, is deeply embedded in the history of equestrian sport in Australia, and it remains a pinnacle event for both Senior and Young Riders to aspire to. 

Due to the global pandemic, the Oceania Championships were cancelled in 2021, much to the disappointment of both nations. Despite careful preparation and the implementation of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, there was still significant uncertainty regarding Covid-19, which made staging the campaign untenable last year. Instead of skipping the Oceania Championships completely, the decision was made to hold the event in 2022, with the next event still set to take place in 2023 in New Zealand.

As the date for the Australian team staging camp approaches, and as the New Zealand horses prepare to leave their shores, it is evident that the friendly rivalry between the two countries fuels the competitive fires in both teams. 

Equestrian Australia would like to wish all riders, horses, grooms and connections the best of luck for the event ahead.  

In the words of the late Jim Dunn, who served as Chair of the National Eventing selectors for more than 20-years, “The Trans Tasman event has been a really good thing for our sport, as long as the right team wins at the end [of the event]!”

Event details can be found on the Zeep. Melbourne 3 Day Event website

Australian Team Annoucment can be found HERE


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