Story of the

Hororātā Domain

At 92 hectares this is one of the oldest and biggest public reserves in New Zealand. The first Hororata Domain Board consisted of John Hall, John Fountaine, James Cordy, James Thwaites, and John Digby.

As the first registered domain board in New Zealand and the third largest public reserve, this fantastic facility has played host to many community activities such as horse racing, cross country, guiding, netball, tennis, shooting and many major events. In years gone by, there was ice skating on the Edwardian Lake.

The Domain was home to the earliest provincial racing club in New Zealand, with the first meeting in January 1885. In the early 1900s, people travelled by train from Christchurch to Coalgate, then walked 6km to Hororātā to enjoy a day at the horse races. Newspaper reports describe other jovial gatherings with entertaining activities. The last horse racing meeting held by the Hororātā Trotting Club was in March 1984.

The domain was commandeered by the Government as an Army Training Facility during World War II.  In 1942 the 3rd Field Regiment with 900 men camped and trained there. American soldiers were also based there.

Fast forward 40 years, and the Hororātā community proudly continues its tradition of hosting events in the Domain. This active community has created some of Selwyn’s most iconic events, including the Hororātā Highland Games and Hororātā Glow Festival, both attracting 10,000 people and smaller events like the Hororātā Mechanical Swap Meet and Hororātā Parish Spring Fair. All of these events are run by volunteers for the benefit of the community.

The Domain is home to the Hororātā Tennis Club and Hororātā Miniature Rifle Club. People can stroll around the 6km walking track, which is also dog friendly. Horses continue to feature in the Domain with an equestrian cross-country course that is currently being rebuilt, and it is an excellent place for people to enjoy riding off the road.