What is an A&P Show in New Zealand, and the Wanaka Show 2012

 

I’m not sure if A&P [Agricultural and Pastoral] Shows come on the New Zealand tourism radar, but we have these annual events all over the country each summer. Tourists I’ve accompanied to these events have really enjoyed the experience. There is fun and interesting things to see for all, especially NZ families.

The idea conceived many years ago was to bring Town and Country together one day a year to enjoy country hospitality and to promote agricultural and pastoral excellence in all areas.

One of the most picturesque A & P Shows in the South Island is the “Wanaka Show”. Technically it’s called The Upper Clutha A & P Show, and was first held in Cromwell in 1895.

We’ve just had the 75th Show set on the beautiful shores of Lake Wanaka, which is one of the most stunning settings in the country for an A & P Show. It is traditionally held around the second weekend in March and is one of the last shows of the year in New Zealand.

 

Trade exhibitors arrive to set up their tents and gazebos days before the event…
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A “Show” is usually an equine event in most districts too, and so horses in trucks and floats arrive a few days beforehand also, and set up camp in the “showgrounds”…
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Horses are offloaded and corralled up in pens that sit empty all year…
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Out goes the washing…
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Most of these “horsey” people know each other really well, as they go from show to show around NZ…
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There is always grooming and plaiting of manes and tails to be done to ready horse and man/woman for a Show…
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When the trucks are emptied out and cleaned [most horsey people seem to love horse smells though], the people move in and live in them in for the duration of the show – usually 3-4 days…
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Trade exhibitors go to a lot of trouble and display some pretty large items for sale…
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On show-day last Friday this major annual event on the Wanaka calendar, which is supported by the whole community and enjoyed by all competitors, spectators and trade exhibitors alike kicked off to a perfect sunrise. By noon Sat. the green area was also covered in cars
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This was the only evidence I saw about it being the 75th Show…
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Actually according to old time locals it never rains on show-day, and having lived here since ’82 I can say this is probably true!

 

Happy clothing vendors…
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There were a few classic cars parked near an area especially set aside for disabled people – hospitality is everywhere…
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A major component of the activities on the Friday is stock judging. This includes not only the animals, but in the case of sheep the quality of their wool [called a "clip" in NZ]

 

There always seems to be a huge acknowledgement that kids should have lots of fun and be involved. Perendale is a sheep breed…
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New Zealand high-country farms are usually called “Stations”…
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Farmers man-handle a few sheep being readied for judging…
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A Perendale wool clip – quite greasy and lanolin like to touch at this post shearing, pre processing stage…
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Fine wool fleeces with winner’s cards on display. Usually “fine wool” refers to wool taken from the merino, a very hardy breed developed for the sparse food on many high-county “runs”…
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There are many food stalls scattered around the show – most are run by non profit organisations including schools, as “fund raisers”
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My old mate Bis works for the legendary Wanaka Waste Busters, and the show is a very busy day for the staff, as they keep on top of rubbish and waste disposal. The Wanaka community is very proud of them…

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Another aspect of any show is produce, and art and craft competitions – now known as Home Industry

 

Cleverly crafted from common vegetables…
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Friend Greg and son Louie admire art work…
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We found some more classic cars and tractors outside…
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Nearby there are constant horse events in the main arena, accompanied by loud speaker commentary…
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A scary clown for children near the sideshow entertainment [inc. a ferris wheel]…
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There are always interesting dressers and people about…
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Meet young Hercules…
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Another judging event – bullocks! This beast was the overall winner – the yellow winner’s ribbon is coming on the left…
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Boer goats on display…
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Honestly he kept following me…
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Children’s pets assemble [and make friends hopefully] for the judging and subsequent pet parade…
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Brothers Steve and Ernie nurse a rabbit…
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Something serious is going on somewhere else it seems…
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One of the highlights before the Grand Parade is a Jack Russell dog race. The use of this breed is steeped in the tradition that while farmers have the Collie breed for work dogs that live away from the house, they often have Jack Russells for their pet house dog.

 

Here a horseman positions himself to tow a dead rabbit to excite the dogs to action…
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Children and adults eagerly await the ensuing mayhem…
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Despite their short legs the dogs run faster than the horse and catch the rabbit within half a lap, and then those not in on the kill head back to find their masters…
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The is a strong Scottish tradition in Otago New Zealand, and here the “pipe band” prepares to head the Grand Parade…
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Those in the parade gather…
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Adjusting the saddle girth…
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The Grand Parade underway…
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Parade over my wanderings continue.

 

Here Fi’s cat Monster and dog Boo Boo enjoy my dropping by…
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Fire fighters giving a display…
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I came across a band playing some delightful ethnic music. When they’d finished I approached one of them and found out they’re from Vanuatu, and are all down the road in Cromwell for the fruit picking season…

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Andrew stops to listen…
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Heading home after a delightful day’s entertainment [I did "pass" on visiting New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, who was apparently in the National Party tent meeting folk] I walked by more trade displays and more cars than I’ve ever seen before at a show…
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Gate entrants have been increasing each year with last year’s numbers around the 15,000 over the two days. The show supported over 375 trade exhibitors with a wide and varied range of commodities, this number is continuing to increase annually.

 

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Other names for Shows in NZ can be Field Days Events, Equidays, Mystery Creek Field Day [Hamilton], New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays, Central Districts Field Days

They are also sometimes held on public land known as a Domain.