New Zealand secures the Team Qualifications for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. NZL-Samantha McIntosh; Tom Tarver; Daniel Meech; Bruce Goodin. 2019 NED-FEI Olympic Qualifier for Team Jumping – Group G. Topps International Arena. Valkenswaard. Netherlands. Monday 12 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Tom Tarver is on a mission to raise $500,000 to ensure New Zealand’s top showjumpers get the best possible build-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games next year and he’s called on some of the world’s best to help.

Tom aboard Popeye, Samantha McIntosh on Check In 2, Bruce Goodin on Backatorps Danny V and Daniel Meech on Fine qualified the nation for the 2020 Games at the FEI Group G Qualifier in Valkenswaard in The Netherlands in August.

He’s left Popeye in Europe and has been bouncing back and forth as he runs his businesses here and has been kickstarting the massive fundraising effort. One of those is the Backing Black Cocktail Party and Auction Evening at the Taupo Christmas Classic this week. Tom has secured some very special sporting memorabilia and other high-end items to be auctioned off both online via the Backing Black – NZ Showjumping Campaign 2020 Facebook page, and at the black tie event.

Included are a signed All Blacks jersey, signed Emirates Team NZ gear, schooling, exclusive accommodation, wine, art, a Louis Vuitton handbag, flights to Thailand, stallion services, antique jewellery, horse feed and much more.

Many of the items are already up on the Facebook page and attracting plenty of interest.

Part of Friday’s gala evening will be a presentation from ESNZ Jumping chair Mandy Illston about what it means to get a top 16 finish at the Games. “It’s all about the sport and how we can evolve it if we do really well at Tokyo,” says Tom who has also been busy getting sponsorship proposals out to a number of top companies to get funding for Tokyo and beyond.

Hopes are high members of the Seoul Olympic jumping team will also attend the expected sell-out gathering.

“It’s been 12 years since we sent a jumping team to the Olympic Games so this is really something special. Finally we have got a bit of depth in our sport and we want people to get behind it  – to achieve this from little old New Zealand is a big thing.”

And he’s not stopping at just Tokyo either. “We are also thinking about (the 2024 Olympic Games in) Paris too. “The deals we are doing are being done with a forward focus – we are certainly thinking long term here,” says Tom who knows only too well the costs of campaigning offshore.

“The sport here at home has a real good buzz about it – people want to support the riders and the riders are striving for the podium at Tokyo.”

To buy tickets for Friday evening, head to: .

To see what is avaliable for auction on the Friday evening, head to:


By Diana Dobson

12th December 2019