NEC Banner


The National Equestrian Centre Taupo was the brainchild of Mr GP Donnelly, and although it commenced operations in 1975 with Lockie Richards as resident instructor on a three-year contract, this was far from being the beginning.

It had long been considered by some of the Council that a central training site would be a great asset to Equestrian Sports NZ (then called the NZ Horse Society), and back in 1971 a sub-committee of Pat Donnelly, Mary Dalley and Ken Pike was authorised to check out the likely locations, preferably in the mid North Island, within the financial reach of the organisation.

It was Pat Donnelly who came up with a ninety acre block just north of Taupo, bounded on one side by the Waikato River, light pumice country never wet, never hard, therefore ideally suited to year around equestrian activities.  In 1972 work begun on the Centre, and included an instructor's house, working pupils' cottage, stables, yards and immediate fencing.  A cattle grazing scheme was initiated to repay the bank loan and arrangements made for a local farmer to plough, level, crop and regrass for the use of the block for a year.

Mighty working bees of members from areas far and near contributed hundreds of man hours, materials and expertise.  The Centre was a busy place, carrying at times considerable numbers of horses as well as increasing stock units as the pastures improved, and water was always a problem, until the Northern Hawke's Bay Junior Group generously financed the whole of the water reticulation, after which life became easier.

In 1980 the Centre showed a profit of $10,846, a percentage of this due to an Equine Training Council scheme set up and funded by the government, the Racing Conference, Equestrian Sports NZ, the Standard-bred Association, Pony Clubs, Quarter Horse Society and ACC.  Pat Donnelly had arranged for a course at the Centre for 18 students to be taught horsemanship (stable management) and riding.  The course ran for two years, then was abandoned due to the unavailablity of jobs and the vast cost of traning the students.

Part of the 1980 profit went towards the building of an up-to-date ablution block, plus considerable maintance on the complex.  In 1998 the now Charisma Hall was built.

Over the years many committee members, volunteers and riders have helped to make the NEC Taupo was it is today.  Developments and maintance are always on going, but it is important to know that the the fees paid to enter a centre run event or for stabliing, camping etc all go back into maintaining the Centre and its future developments.

Aerial Photo 1

Aerial Photo 2