Winner announced for Airport scenic rugby photo competition

Winning image by Kate Dowling, Upper Clutha Rugby Club

Winning image by Kate Dowling, Upper Clutha Rugby Club

The winner of the photo competition to find the best iconic rugby field in the South Island has been announced: 25 year old Kate Dowling of Wanaka. She is the secretary of the Upper Clutha Rugby Club in Wanaka, and the photo is of the senior team's final match against Queenstown, which they won.

Entries to the photo competition were received from all corners of the South Island, including Karamea, Maniototo, Crowell, Wakatipu and Fox Glacier. Photos were uploaded onto the Christchurch Airport website, and the public was invited to vote for their favourite photos. The ten photos with the most votes were judged by three experts in rugby, photography and tourism: former Rugby All Black captain and Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder, Press Illustrations Editor Richard Cosgrove and Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler.

"While there were many wonderful photos, the winner had a number of elements which made it a great example of heartland rugby in the South Island,' said judge Todd Blackadder. "The magnificent backdrop of the mountains, the locals with their cars and trucks all parked beside the field, people standing on the back of utes watching the game, the two teams playing in rural New Zealand - it's a great portrait of real rugby.

"The winning prize is a $10,000 package, with $1000 for the photographer, $2000 for the featured club, and $7000 for their rugby union. "I totally didn't expect to win," said Kate Dowling, who entered five photos into the competition. She has been involved with the Upper Clutha Rugby Club for the last three years, and often takes photos of the games.

The competition was run by Christchurch Airport, as part of its lead up to the world's biggest rugby event next year.

"The photo competition is a great way to showcase our fabulous scenery and celebrate our national game at the same time" explained Christchurch Airport's General Manager Marketing and Business Development, Gareth Owen. "We're going to display the best entries at Christchurch Airport next year, so our rugby visitors can admire them and be inspired to visit them".   

"Christchurch Airport is part of a Canterbury Committee which is determined that our region will give visitors the best experience of New Zealand during this great rugby event," said Owen. "The rugby field photo competition is just the start of our airport campaign to celebrate rugby, Canterbury, and the South Island."

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