Society aims to take show national

By Patrick O'Sullivan


The June 6 Eastern Horticultural Field Day will quickly become a national event, says Hawke's Bay A&P; Society general manager Brent Linn.

The event is aimed at the agriculture, viticulture and horticulture industries.

"Something that is missing in the field day landscape is a national horticultural field day," he says. "The society already has a long association with the pastoral side of farming but, because Hawke's Bay is a significant horticulture area, there is an opportunity regionally and even nationally for it to host."

The society isn't starting from scratch but building on a "solid base" already in place with the fruitgrower's Ice Expo, which attracts visitors from across the world.

"We have been hosting the Ice Expo for three years now. We have also been running an event which was the Small Block Fielday and it grew into the Eastern Field Day and the A&P; Society realised we were essentially competing for the same audience, the same trade exhibitors and visiting public.

"So we talked with fruitgrowers about the opportunity to combine our two events and make a signature horticultural field day. They were very receptive to that idea and we are developing it together.

"The Eastern Horticultural Field Day will become host for fruitgrowers to run their sector programme and we are encouraging other sectors to also use the field day to run their sector initiatives so it becomes by industry, for industry.

"It is a networking opportunity across all of the horticultural sectors and provides a stage for horticulture to talk about how it is important to the community economically and represent itself as a valid career option and provide a forum for industry issues."

Sponsorship is in place and there is strong interest from exhibitors.

A seminar series will address primary sector issues including advisory services, conservation, equipment suppliers, quality and regulation. An innovation award will be given to an invention or application that benefits horticulture.

The entry price is $10 but trade exhibitors will be given about 100 tickets to distribute. "So ideally every grower will be given a ticket."

The field day will join a stable of events that the Hawke's Bay A&P; Society runs as a non-profit organisation to advance its goal of promoting excellence in primary production and agribusiness for the benefit of all.

It has proved itself as a venue for big events. The annual Horse of the Year Show continues to grow. This year it attracted 74,500 spectators and catered for more than 2000 horses with 28 arenas of competition. There were more than 7000sq m of marquees, including 172 trade exhibitors, many who had flown in especially for the event.

"We want to cement Eastern Horticultural Field Day as a regional event over the next two years with the plan that within five years it will be the National Horticultural Fielday."

For information contact Hillary Riches, event manager, Hawke's Bay A&P; Society. Ph: (06) 878 3123 F: (06) 878 3121 Email: events@showgroundshb.co.nz

- Hamilton News

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