Rural nostalgia to fore at 150th show

By Sam Hurley

The "ruralness" of the Hawke's Bay Show will return as it marks its 150th anniversary this year, with entertainment mixing themes from the past and present.

General manager Brent Linn said of the sesquicentennial which runs from October 23-25: "We are going to have a strong focus on the ruralness of the A and P Show and we will be reinforcing that for the 150th show.

"We are also going to make sure we have good livestock for the show - the show traditionally used to be a purely commercial pursuit, you won a ribbon and your stock would increase in value, now it is more an interest and a passion and we will look to bring an entertainment value to the show."

It has been granted Royal Event status for its 150th show sheep and beef cattle sections this year and the Hawke's Bay A and P Society is also hoping to bring the Royal Show back to its showgrounds in Hastings.

The last time a Royal Show was held at the society's Tomoana Showgrounds on the outskirts of Hastings was in 2003, at a time when the Bay was part of a five-show rotating the Royal status each year. The Royal Show title effectively gives national championship status to the stock events, guaranteeing increased entries, and the supreme champions in the sheep and cattle classes at the show this year will each be awarded the RAS Supreme Champion Medal with red, white and blue ribbon.

Mr Linn previously told Hawke's Bay Today the Royal Event status had been granted by the Royal Agricultural Society New Zealand for this year's show in October and the 2014 show, and it is seen as a precursor to a bid to stage the Royal Show in 2015 and 2016.

Mr Linn said the nostalgic factor of this year's event had gained the interest of a number of people who have a long history with the show.

"It [the anniversary] is touching a lot of people - it is one of the few societies that have got to 150 shows, it's quite a milestone and achievement. People have not seen the grand parade since the 80s and people are excited to see it."

Historical elements from previous shows will be displayed this year to pay tribute to the event's history, including a transport showcase, with an iconic car from every decade, starting with a horse and cart, as well as a strong art deco theme.

Included will be a purpose-built extreme 4WD course and display of pre-1960s Series One Land Rovers, to celebrate 65 years of Land Rover.

The NZ Series One Land Rover Club will manage the display during the show with the aim of bringing together 65 vehicles.

Hillseekers 4WD's Mark Warren is designing and managing the 4WD course, and said he had received a "fantastic response", with some vehicles coming from as far away as Whitianga. "As far as we know, there has been no other display like this [of Series One Land Rovers], so it's going to look fantastic. There are a lot of these wonderful machines in sheds and garages, all in differing states of use or repair," he said.

Owners will have the opportunity to show off their vehicles to the public, and also have a spin around the purpose-built 4WD course during the show.

Send your favourite A and P Show memories to

Features expected at this year's 150th Hawke's Bay Show include:

  • The return of the Grand Parade.

  • A transport showcase of vehicles from the last 150 years, starting with horses, featuring the oldest car in Hawke's Bay right through to the latest modern day machine. A 150th zone will be created to display these vehicles alongside art deco and a few other nostalgic displays.

  • There will be a Showcase of Land Rover, with the Series One Land Rover Club displaying up to 65 pre-1960s vehicles from all over New Zealand.

  • The royal event in sheep and royal event in cattle bring back large numbers of livestock to the show.

  • The NZ Fencing Championships will feature three days of competition.

  • Competitions with a range of classes for showing alpaca, cattle, dog trials, equestrian, home industries, poultry and sheep.

  • A full three-day schedule of entertainment with schools and community group performances, the Twin City Stompers to storytellers, clowns and Mahons Amusements.

  • The Pirongia Clydesdales team will be attending on the Thursday and Friday.

  • The return of rural hospitality will be a key feature with marquee space added to host members and VIPs and the car boot picnic in the member's car park.

  • Fashion in the Field competition.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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