The last act of NZ National Agricultural Fieldays' celebration of 50 years took place on Saturday night (Nov 17) with a dinner and the launch of a book celebrating 50 years.

As they left the event, hundreds of guests were handed a copy of Mystery Creek Magic, a book by journalists Geoff Taylor and Richard Walker which chronicles the half century since a group of determined, do-it-yourself pioneers started a modest event that would go on to become the biggest agricultural trade show in the Southern Hemisphere.

Society chief executive Peter Nation said that at a recent conference in Edmonton, Canada, he gifted the book to Princess Anne.

The Princess is featured in the early pages of the book when she visited Te Rapa Racecourse in 1970 and was shown around by society member Doug Baldwin who caused a stir in British newspapers by wearing walk shorts instead of long trousers.


Mr Nation said when he reminded her of the fuss recently the Princess laughed off the silliness of it.

Saturday's dinner at Mystery Creek's Bledisloe Hall rounded off a year of events celebrating the 50th anniversary since the first Fieldays at Te Rapa Racecourse in 1969. Two Fieldays were held at the site and the next 48 at Mystery Creek.

As well as three celebratory events in the Waikato and a dinner at Parliament House, the anniversary was commemorated by an exhibition at Waikato Museum while the society also unveiled a sculpture and a children's book.

The unveiling of Mystery Creek Magic was the final act and Mr Nation said it was a fitting tribute.

Thousands of copies of the book were printed and many will be gifted to society members, volunteers and exhibitors across New Zealand and overseas.