Showing purebred jersey cattle is a tradition one Poroutawhao farming family have managed to keep alive for more than five generations.
Bryan and Shirley Phillips and their family are this week busy preparing their show cattle for the Horowhenua AP&I Show next weekend, putting the finishing touches on the best of their herd.
For Bryan Phillips, 75, showing jersey cattle was something his grandfather did, and now something that their children and now grandchildren do.
"I was brought up around jerseys," he said.
The couple first met in 1967 when Shirley took a job on a Mangatoki farm in Taranaki, owned by a well-known jersey breeder and stockman, Lindsay Morgan.
Bryan was a young man working on a farm at Te Kiri about 20 minutes down the road, and they were introduced when he started helping out on the Morgan farm.
Two years later they were married.
Shirley was 21 when she bought her first jersey cow, in 1968, for $1200. The stud prefix Shirlett comes from a hybrid of her first name and her maiden name, Billett.
Bryan, one year her senior, was starting to furnish a herd himself. Their herd slowly grew, keeping the Shirlett prefix for their cows.
Together they entered sharemilking arrangements on different farms for the next 13 years - two years at Waverley, five years at Warea, three years at Okiawa and three years at Shannon - before buying a 185 acre (75ha) farm situated between Foxton and Levin.
It was now considered a small farm in comparison to some of the huge farming blocks today, and they still milk the herd in the eight-a-side herringbone cows shed twice each day, with the transistor radio providing the music.
In among the herd of 160 is a cow called Star that is a direct descendant from jersey stock that was owned by Bryan's grandfather William John Phillips, who farmed at the base of Mount Taranaki near a town called Te Kiri.
When his father William carried on jersey breeding and farming purebreds, Bryan remembers as a youngster taking stock to Opunake to wash them before a show and get them ready.
"We always had them spot on," he said
Showing cattle was a chance to showcase their hard work in breeding good cattle and the pride they took in the herd, describing it as a "beauty pageant for cows", and there were boxes of ribbons over the years to show it.
While it is rewarding for those that compete, showing cattle is not as popular as it was in the past, where a majority number of farmers would show their stock.
The introduction of artificial insemination largely took away the commercial aspect of showing cattle, although the prestige of winning and having good stock recognised still remains as strong as ever for the Phillips family.
"It's a passion and a hobby for us all," she said.
"We love doing it."
Showing cattle is a real family affair. Daughter Belinda and granddaughter Christina help out with preparation and on show day. Farm worker Kahu Morgan also pitches in.
Christina, 18, has inherited the same passion for dairy farming and wants to start breeding purebred jersey cows. She even wants to register her own prefix for her cattle - Taraview.
They usually use their own purebred bulls to cover the herd each mating season and occasionally introduce other bulls where needed, and can have as many as 20 bulls on the farm.
The cows were first mated artificially for three weeks and after that the rest got in calf through natural mating.
Meanwhile, show president Ron Horn said this year the Levin show was hosting the North Island championship for purebred jersey cattle. Entries were coming from as far as Tuakau in Pukekohe, with others coming from Taranaki.
There would still be a strong showing at Levin, despite a Feilding show being scheduled just days later. There were also classes of Holstein Friesian and Ayrshire cattle.
Meanwhile, Phillips had always shunned pre-show publicity - believing it might skew results - but was willing to make an exception this time recognising Horowhenua Chronicle as a major sponsor of the Levin AP&I Show.
"But we always accept what we get. You don't get carried away," he said.
The director of Purebred Jersey New Zealand, Murray Skedgwell, would be travelling from Tuatapere to the show as head judge.