The second of Hawke's Bay's four annual A&P shows starts in Waipukurau today with a particular air of history in the stage of an event to commemorate 150 years since the first shearing competition the area.

The event, involving leading South Island bladeshearers Tony Dobbs and Allan Oldfield and comparative North Island part-timers or novices Neil Weggery, of Dannevirke, and Russell Knight, of Apiti, will mark a century and a half since a January 21, 1868, competition on one of the blocks of Waipukurau town father H R Russell, after whom show venue Russell Park is named.

The feature, the first bladeshearing contest in the North Island since the 2012 World Championships in Masterton, will start about 1.30pm on Saturday and will be part of a big programme of shearing and other agri-sports at the show, the biggest in number being the equestrian events.

Dobbs and Oldfield, who are leading a series to decide on two New Zealand bladeshearers for the world shearing and woolhandling championships in France next year, will also be available for close-quarters displays of their craft which is now used in New Zealand only in a short season in Canterbury.


The shearing otherwise, with machine handpieces, is expected to also include current New Zealand team member David Buick, of Pongaroa, who has already had three wins this season, while reigning world champion John Kirkpatrick, who won the Great Raihania Shears Open final in Hastings three weeks ago, is also expected to be competing.

Top woolhandlers such as former world champions Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti, are also expected with their competition being part of a 2019 World Championships New Zealand team selection series.

There's also expected to be world and national champion quality in the farm fencing, with father-and-son national farm Fieldays Golden Pliers winners Shane and Tony Bouskill based in Hawke's Bay and having last month added the Royal Show pairs title in Hastings to their collection of ribbons.

Other agri-sports include the sheep dog trials, starting today and drawing a large field from Hawke's Bay and neighbouring regions, and the bullriding competitions which complete the show on Saturday, starting about 6pm, while other rural features are the sheep judging and black and coloured fleecewool competitions.

Family and oval attractions include the appearance of Wonky Donky tales author Craig Smith, a working artist, and terrier racing.

The other Hawke's Bay A&P show this summer are in Wairoa in January and Dannevirke on the first weekend of February.