New Zealand's native parrot the kea, an Australian bushfire and a toasted marshmallow were just three of the inspirations behind the Fieldays Ag Art Wear extravaganza.

Forty garments from designers on both sides of the Tasman showcased a varied and colourful talent in an event which has grown from strength to strength since it was first launched in 1994.

Leaves, bale wrap, calf feeding equipment, chicken wire and even a miniature shed were just a few of the designs that graced the stage for the first of four shows at the national agricultural expo at Mystery Creek, south of Hamilton, yesterday.

The audience was wowed by entries in three categories; classroom couture, designer traditional and avant-garde.


Majestic Blaze, a winning entry from the Elmore National Ag Art Wear competition in Australia, featured a full-length gown of black weed mat and a panelled skirt made from flywire and orange safety mesh. The destruction of an Australian bushfire with its orange flames and charred black land was the inspiration behind the ensemble.

Another show-stopper was Kea, The Mountain Rascal, created by Millie Law and featuring hand-cut coloured plastic pieces, fastened by delicate wire links for an interpretation of New Zealand's iconic native parrot.

St Peters School student Emily Smail's memories of roasting marshmallows with her great-grandmother was the inspiration behind her Toasted Marshmallow entry.

The Year 11 student's marshmallow is made from chicken wire netting and pink silage wrap, a tribute to breast cancer sufferers including her great-grandmother, who survived the illness.

Fieldays event designer Adam Reinsfield said of the three categories the avant-garde section attracted "out of the box" designs which were always unique.

Entries will be judged and prizes awarded tomorrow.

Ag Art Wear runs every day of Fieldays at 2pm.