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Women of Inspiration evening to light up Horse of the Year 2020

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A star-studded stable of trailblazing New Zealand heroines is set to literally light up Australasia’s largest equestrian showpiece in Hastings next week, the 2020 Land Rover Horse of the Year.

The show - which kicks off next week in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, has announced a new ‘Women of Inspiration’ evening proudly supported by fragrance house, ECOYA, and is set to play host to a sizzling line-up of influential Kiwi women.

The 2020 panel includes popular New Zealand media personality, successful author, health and wellness warrior and new Mum, Matilda Green, the first female chairwoman to ‘smash the glass ceiling’ in Super Rugby, Chiefs Chair Tonia Cawood, global-trotting entrepreneur and businesswomen, Katherine Corich and CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust founder, Catriona Williams.

Comedienne, television personality and author Jaquie Brown rounds out the line-up for the highly anticipated event, to be held at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana next Thursday 12th of March.

For ECOYA General Manager Claire Barnes, supporting the event seemed a natural partnership for their globally recognized brand.

"We are excited to have signed on as a sponsor at Land Rover Horse Of The Year, it felt like a new and unexpected opportunity for our brand.

"This panel of women have all given back to their own communities in various ways. In this day and age we need women to inspire other women, raise each other up and be each other’s champions - be it through charitable opportunities, business, sport, television or social media. This panel of leading ladies will inspire others through their diverse industries and so we’re looking forward to hearing them all share their stories."

Equestrian is one of the few professional sports offering equal prize money to men and women at the elite level, and events like the ECOYA ‘Women of Inspiration’ evening help to shine the light on successful women in the sport.

Female heroine of the sport and Equestrian New Zealand Hall of Famer Catriona Williams began riding as a four-year-old and became one of New Zealand's leading international equestrian riders representing New Zealand in both showjumping and eventing.

Following an eventing accident in 2002 that left Catriona a C6/C7 Tetraplegic confined to a wheelchair, she founded the CatWalk Trust to "get wheelies walking again" and has been the driving force behind funding innovative, cutting-edge, world-class spinal cord injury research.

"After my accident I had to come to grips with a new form of mobility and so often through many tears I would say ‘Why me?" or with Sam we would say "Why us?". The best thing you can do in life, whether it’s work or play, is surround yourself with positive people, people who believe, support and back you. With CatWalk, this is what happened.

"I’ve been incredibly lucky. No one wants to hang out with the miserable person in the corner of the room, abled or disabled so back at Burwood…I decided, I did not want to be that person.

"We’ve been incredibly lucky to be supported by an amazing group of people here and around the world who ‘get it’. An SCI could happen to anyone at any time…it was never going to happen to me, but it did.

"The effort I put in to my training is for me but the work we all put into CatWalk is for everyone and the rewards we all get personally are hard to explain. It’s important to note CatWalk is here to make a difference not a donation hence the continuous drive by us all to back the very best cutting edge SCI research we can get our hands on."

The ECOYA ‘Women of Inspiration’ Evening will raffle off on the night the fragrance house’s most loved products, to help raise money for the CatWalk Trust.

Since winning New Zealand’s first series of The Bachelor and the heart of Art Green, Matilda Green (nee Rice) has made her own strides as a popular published health and wellness author.

She’s revelling the chance to spread some of her own learnings.

"As women, I think it's so important to lift each other up at every opportunity. I'm passionate about helping others feel comfortable and happy in their own skin, through a few different approaches and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to spread that message even further."

Before Matilda became a Mum she penned two best-selling self exploration books for women, but admits giving birth to her son Milo five months ago has challenged her own tips on maintaining a happy, confident and fulfilled life.

"Being a mum has challenged me in every way possible! I saw it as the perfect time to practice what I preach. I've spoken previously about working on your self esteem and mindset when things are good, so that you are prepared when you experience challenging times, so I saw being a new mum as one of these times. Putting my mental health first during motherhood has made me grow as a person, and a mother. I now understand now more than ever the meaning of the phrase "you can't pour from an empty cup".

Land Rover Horse of the Year General Manager Lauren Watson is looking forward to hosting the panel of ‘Wonder Women’.

"The night isn’t designed just for women, it’s an all-inclusive chance for men and women to come along and hear the stories of some inspirational speakers, there will be canapés and G.H. Mumm champagne flowing and knowing Kerre McIvor our vivacious emcee for the evening, there will be plenty of laughs too!"

Two Hawkes Bay leading ladies, Deputy Hastings Mayor Tania Kerr and Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise are getting behind the evening too. The duo plan to attend along with a host of other local business leaders, including property manager Annah Kight who is accomodating the panel at Porters Boutique Hotel, in the heart of Havelock North.

Tickets for the ECOYA ‘Women of Inspiration’ Evening are on sale now but will sell out fast. If you would like to support this empowering event at Land Rover Horse of the Year, please head to for tickets.

The annual Land Rover Horse of the Year, held at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana (March 10-15) has become not only an equestrian but an entertainment and shopping extravaganza, attracting in excess of 50,000 spectators over the week of competition.

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