By Doug Laing
The weather might have kept a few young people away from the opening day of the Royal New Zealand Show in Hastings, but it wasn't going to stop Hamilton Logan — at the age of 95.
At a function launching the show on Tuesday night, he was made the first-ever Patron of show host the Hawke's Bay A and P Society, and on Wednesday, despite the rain, the drop in temperature, the wind, and almost any other climatic variation, he was back in his role as one of the long-serving past presidents of any organisation in New Zealand.
That's 36 years, but he has been around the Hawke's Bay show more than half of the 156 years since the formation of the society. He first attended in 1929, when he was five, joined the committee in 1960, and was president from 1980 to 1983.
He's only recently given-up the hospitality role which goes with being a past-president, of which there are about 12, but still gets to the meeting, including the general committee.
The new honour was "unexpected" but with some forewarning he got the chance to say a few things he wanted to talk about, and at the show spoke of the motivation for his enduring interest.
"It's for various reasons," he said.
"I like to catch-up with old friends, but I'm also interested in talking with the young farmers, and the young women in business.
"I believe they are the people of the future, extremely talented and very good at what they are doing," he said. "And what I think about this society is it stands for excellence, in the broadest terms, in agricultural and pastoral farming."
He said he'd never thought about the society not having a Patron but now that it had happened he said: "It does add a little bit of excitement to be the first cab off the rank."
Despite the rain, which came and went and came and went, excitement was also in the present for society general manager Sally Jackson at the start of her second show since being appointed to the job early in 2018.
After all, she observed, rain grows the grass, grass feeds the animals, and without the animals there'd be no show.
The rain had however affected schools which had in some cases cancelled their pupils' big day out.
The society had been expecting up to 3000, up on last year as the society moves on a course of educating young people about agriculture and its products.
The Fonterra kids' breakfast went ahead as planned, with children from Flemington School in southern Hawke's Bay among the first on the scene, and while children showed intrigue with their rural experiences, regular adult showgoers found intrigue with the children's intrigue.
The feature of the second day of the show will be the presentation of supreme stock section trophy the Meat and Wool Cup, and a luncheon with Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor as guest speaker.