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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 New Zealand Horse Society (now known as Equestrian Sport New Zealand)

 The Beginning 1971

1972        Pat Donnelly 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.   Work began 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

 Satbles 1977

1975      The brainchild of Mr GP Donnelly, the National Equestrian Centre commenced operations with Lockie Richards as resident instructor on a three-year contract.  Mighty working bees of members from areas far and near have 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.

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 unavailability of jobs and the vast cost of training the students.  Part of the 1980 profit went towards the building of an up-to-date ablution block, plus considerable maintenance on the complex.

 General View 1982

1990      New entrance gates were installed, now Gate 2.

 Main Entrance 1990

1998          The Charisma Hall was built.


2007      A long range plan was developed after consultation with the ESNZ disciplines.  The list of future upgrades for better facilities from all disciplines was very long and as we ticked off most of their requests we then decided to try and build the Indoor facility which all disciplines requested.  The aim was to provide a world class training and competition environment in NZ for ESNZ


2009      Update of equipment used in the maintenance of the arenas with assistance from the Lion Foundation


2010      A new residence was built for the Manager

House Caretaker


2011      Planning for an Indoor Arena began


2012      Portcabin block was built to supply accommodation to casual users but also able to accommodate officials onsite during events.



2013      First money for Indoor to get plans ,resource consent etc from First Sovereign Trust


2013      New covered yard block was built with 68 yards.



2016     Construction of the Indoor Arena began with the first sod being officially turned on 15th April 2016 in the presence of the Mayor, MP for Taupo and others.    Photo 15th Nov

NEC Tpo 15 Nov


2018      The indoor arena is being used and the rooms will be completed this year

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