Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor will be a special guest at the Royal New Zealand Show which will be held at Hawke's Bay Showgrounds Tomoana on October 23-25.

The appearance has been confirmed by Hawke's Bay A and P Society general manager Sally Jackson as the countdown starts for the first of Hawke's Bay's annual A and P Shows during the summer.

It will be followed by the Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show in Waipukurau on November 14-16, the 2020 Wairoa A and P Show on January 16-18, and the Dannevirke A and P Show on January 30-February 1.

The Labour Party MP for West Coast-Tasman will speak at a midday luncheon on the second day of the show which ends on the Hawke's Bay Anniversary public holiday.

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Predecessor Nathan Guy had a similar role as a National government Minister of Primary Industries in 2016.

After a year of planning the show countdown has started, with the closing of entries across dozens of competition classes, including almost 3000 in equestrian events.

It will make it one of the biggest equestrian shows in New Zealand, at the home of the biggest of them all, the Horse of the Year Show, which will be held in Hastings for a 20th year in a row, on March 10-15.The big feature will be the annual World Cup New Zealand qualifying event which will feature the top horses and riders in New Zealand.

Competition figures across the spectrum of rural life, with the traditional sheep and cattle sections and classes for other animals, as well as agri-sports such as axe sports, sheep dog trials, farm fencing, and the show's Great Raihania Shows, which hark back to what is believed to have been the first machine shearing competition in the World, at the Hawke's Bay show in 1902.

Jackson will also be taking to the shearing board, having been with shears organiser and Hastings contractor Colin Watson Paul a driving force behind "Women and Wool" which has drawn seven women from the their professional careers into learning to shear in a Farmstrong fundraiser to be held on the showgrounds historic shearing pavilion on the night before the show starts.

There is a "public helpers" working bee at the showgrounds on Sunday, and the major "committee, friends and family" working bee on October 19, as the show starts to take shape with the development of its village of marquees and the next day's arrival of amusement attractions from the Poverty Bay show in Gisborne.

The first Royal Show in New Zealand was in 1924, and it has been held mainly annually under the auspices of the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand.

For many years it was rotated Hawke's Bay, Manawatu and Waikato shows in the North Island, and Canterbury and Southland in the South Island, A and P shows in the South Island.

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Since 2001 other shows have been able to apply to stage specific Royal title events, and in 2006, the RAS entered a contract with the Canterbury Show to run the Royal Show each year.

The arrangement ended in 2010, the Royal Show was held in Hamilton in 2011 and 2012, and then hosted by and A and P society and business consortium in 2013.

The failure to go ahead in Feilding in 2014 led to Hawke's Bay being awarded the event, and the Royal Show has been held in Hastings each year since 2015.