Maria Tutaia and the 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Maria Tutaia with the 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup (Image: Geoff Hedley).

Maria Tutaia to represent the race that stops two nations

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has officially announced star New Zealand netballer Maria Tutaia as the inaugural New Zealand Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassador.

Tutaia will attend the world’s most vibrant racing event, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and promote the glamour and excitement of the race that stops the nation in her home country New Zealand.

Tutaia is no stranger to racing, having been the face of the Auckland Cup for the past four years.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the world’s biggest racing, fashion and social events and as much a racing tradition in New Zealand as it is in Australia, it’s an honour to be appointed as the New Zealand Ambassador,” Ms Tutaia said.

“I can’t wait to share in the celebration at Flemington, to experience a truly world-class event so close to home.”

Tutaia, a keen fashion lover, said she is looking forward to being part of the style spectacular.

“There are not many places in the world where everyone makes such an effort to get dressed up. That along with the Myer Fashions on the Field competition are elements I’m really looking forward to seeing,” she said.

Victoria Racing Club Interim Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said the appointment of a New Zealand based Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassador follows years of strong growth in New Zealand tourism to the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“We have taken giant strides into the New Zealand market over the past three years, with visitation to the Melbourne Cup Carnival growing by more than 40 per cent over this time,” Mr Wilson said.

“By engaging Maria we hope even more New Zealanders will be able to share in the celebration that is the Melbourne Cup Carnival, to share in the world-class racing, fashion, entertainment and hospitality that makes this one of the world’s great events.

“We’re excited to welcome Maria to Flemington in November.”

As part of her role, Tutaia will travel with the Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy as it goes on tour throughout New Zealand visiting various iconic locations and community groups in the lead up to the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Lucky New Zealand racing and fashion fans will be able to meet Tutaia and hold the iconic A$200,000 (NZ$216,000) Emirates Melbourne Cup Trophy, with locations of the tour to be announced in the coming months.

Regarded as the world’s most vibrant racing event, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is a uniquely Australian celebration of sport, fashion, food and wine and culture, attracting more than 315,000 racegoers to Flemington Racecourse over four magical racedays each year.

For the first time this year New Zealanders will be able to cruise to the Emirates Melbourne Cup, with P&O Cruises Pacific Jewel set to set sail from Auckland on a 10-day cruise experience with a celebration of all things racing.

Tickets, including dining and hospitality packages, for the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival are now on sale through