Huge turnout for 121st Tauranga A&P show

By Allison Hess

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Sydney Pope, 10 and Bentley Malcolm, 1, can't get enough of Colenso, the friendly, furry alpaca. Photo / George Novak
Sydney Pope, 10 and Bentley Malcolm, 1, can't get enough of Colenso, the friendly, furry alpaca. Photo / George Novak

This year's A&P show drew a huge crowd - despite being put together by a bare-bones committee.

Tauranga A&P Show Association committee member Terry Woodmass said it was the largest crowd he had seen in a long time, "possibly the largest since conception".

Mr Woodmass and Sue McDonald have been organising the show for the past four years. He said it was "amazing" they pulled together such a great show as the committee was "almost defunct".

"We're a struggling committee of roughly 13 and we've been struggling for quite some time. The committee is looking for new members.

"We're top-heavy in age. It's been hard to generate interest in younger people to join," Mr Woodmass said, highlighting that when the current members stepped down the survival of the committee would be unsure.

But on Saturday, Tauranga Racecourse was packed with people, animals, food stalls and activities to the delight of committee members.

It is to the credit of the small committee that this year's show was such a hit.

It took weeks of planning, some very late nights and "tremendous" help from the Greerton Lions to put together the 121st Tauranga A&P and Lifestyle Show, Mr Woodmass said.

He said the great weather also helped, as did the coinciding Medieval Faire, but this year the committee stepped up their game in terms of advertising.

"We had to step up with the times and modernise. We did more online advertising and social media."

Mr Woodmass said aspects of the A&P show had changed. It had become like a business and was run like a business.

"We've had to employ a lot of people where in the past people helped out more and gave their time for nothing."


Plenty of muscle power needed for the rope-pulling contest.
Plenty of muscle power needed for the rope-pulling contest.

However, it was still the "bringing the country to the city" soul of the show that made it what it was.

"It's the old traditional parts - the shearing, cattle, horses ... the grassroots stuff that has been around for years and years that keeps bringing people back and what makes the A&P show so successful."

The animals are what attracted Tauranga woman Kayla Poole back to the show.

Ms Poole said she had not visited the show since she was a child but fond memories made her bring her younger sister and son along.

"They love the animals, especially the ponies and alpacas," she said while her younger sister led an alpaca around and around the pen.

"I will for sure come back next year."

Mr Woodmass said they would have big shoes to fill for next year's show, but they would try to expand on it and capitalise on this year's success.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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