New Zealand's oldest country show returns to Waimate North this Saturday for a remarkable 173rd time - making it only a couple of years younger than the Treaty of Waitangi.
While many other shows have dwindled away or succumbed to commercialism, the Bay of Islands Pastoral and Industrial Show has retained its bucolic charm and manages to pull 10,000-strong crowds.
The show still revolves around a multitude of animal competitions but other entertainment this year includes live music, a primary school kapa haka contest, and a concert by past winners and finalists to mark the 10th anniversary of the Be Free talent quest.
Indoor competitions cover everything from best pikelet to best home brew, while the Food and Wine Pavilion - previously held in a marquee, now in Riding for the Disabled's covered arena - will showcase some of Northland's best food and wine as well as future Masterchefs doing battle in the Kids Can Cook challenge.
Town kids can make up for any pet deprivation issues in the popular small animals tent. The show also features miniature horses and a packed programme of equestrian events.
P&I Association president Don Jack said the kapa haka contest was new this year.
"Youth are the future of our show, and the community has put so much into the show over the years we felt it would be good to give something back," he said.
The contest would be MC'd by Mori Rapana, from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, with $1000 in prize money to be divided up between the top three teams.
There would also be changes in what used to be called Savouring the Source, now the Food and Wine Pavilion.
Mr Jack said the show's enduring appeal came down to the variety of entertainment, its unbeatable setting, and the fact it was the first of the season.
Entry to Waimate North showgrounds, on Showgrounds Rd, is $10 or free to kids 12 and under. Parking is free. The gates open early and the action starts winding down about 3pm.
Ken Ring to visit
Weather man Ken Ring - who uses lunar cycles to predict weather up to a year ahead - is speaking at the Turner Centre on Tuesday, November 17.
Mr Ring will give a 45-60 minute presentation outlining Northland weather trends for the next 12 months, and will describe in layman's terms weather prediction methods he says anyone can put into practice immediately.
He says his methods have been used for centuries by farmers in other cultures.
Entry is $10; the talk starts at 7pm. Tickets from the Turner Centre box office or www.turnercentre.co.nz.
A national day of action against the recently agreed TPPA trade agreement is also coming to Kerikeri, with a march due to start at the Procter Library on Cobham Rd at 2.30pm on Saturday.
The time has been chosen to allow people to go to the show in Waimate North and make it back to town in time for the protest.
Opponents of the TPPA claim it erodes New Zealand sovereignty by giving overseas corporations the right to sue the government if it passes laws they believe will hurt their business interests, while others worry new intellectual property provisions will limit New Zealanders' access to new medicines.
The TPPA's backers say New Zealand has to be on board to get access to restricted export markets like Japan and the USA.
Kerikeri's last TPPA march drew 80 people despite confusion sown by social media reports saying it had been cancelled.
Armour as jewellery
A young Mid North woman's creations will feature in an Auckland fashion show she hopes will be a springboard to a career in costume design.
Ilyse Court, of Waimate North, is a final year fashion student at AUT and is one of about 60 budding designers whose work will feature in tonight's Rookie fashion show.
One of the top students in her year, Ilyse is the only one to have made a jewellery collection. Her pieces are inspired by The Lord of the Rings and make copious use of chainmail.
More than 200 people from the major New Zealand fashion houses are expected at the show as well as a large contingent of fashion media and bloggers.
The Nukes, one of the country's top ukulele bands, will perform at Alongside on the Paihia Waterfront from 7-10pm on Friday, November 13.
The trio describe themselves as "part vaudeville, part rat-pack, part musical car crash". They have toured Australasia and played big events such as Womad and the Auckland Folk Festival.
Artists vie for top prize
Three Northland clay artists - two of whom hail from Kerikeri - have been shortlisted for the country's top ceramic art award.
Greg Barron (Whangarei), Marita Hewitt and Sharon Terrizzi (Kerikeri) will find out tomorrow if they have won the Premier Portage Ceramic Award, which carries a prize of $15,000.
This year's judge, Irish ceramic artist Ingrid Murphy, will have to choose from 52 finalists selected from 237 entries. The winner will be announced at Te Uru gallery in Titirangi. The works will then go on show at Te Uru until February 7.
The other top prize is a residency at the International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark.
Hospice shop opens
Northland MP Winston Peters is opening a flash new Hospice Mid Northland op shop in Kaikohe at 4pm tomorrow.
The new store, at 101 Broadway, replaces the old hospice shop which used to occupy half the hardware store premises.
Hospice Mid Northland's three op shops - in Kerikeri, Kawakawa and Kaikohe - raise $400,000 a year for the organisation, which looks after the terminally ill and their families.
So this weekend you have the Bay of Islands Show to look forward to, but the weekend after promises to be Kerikeri's biggest in years with three major events in 48 hours.
First up, on Friday evening Far North kids' charity the Bald Angels Trust will try to set a new world record - and raise as much as $100,000 - by persuading 400 people to shave their heads for charity. To join them go to www.baldangels.org.nz or pick up a form from Cafe Cinema on Hobson Ave.
On Saturday morning more than 2000 people will run the Kerikeri Half Marathon, an event which draws people from all over the upper North Island; and that evening double that number are expected to crowd into a stretch of Kerikeri Rd which will be closed to traffic and turned into a party zone for the annual Kerikeri Street Party. Bring your dancing shoes.
Three from the Hokianga
A new exhibition by Hokianga artists Lindsay Antrobus Evans, Liz McAuliffe and Beverley Cox opens at Kerikeri gallery Kaan Zamaan at 5pm this Friday. Tanekaha: The strength of the mark then runs until December 6.
Epilepsy New Zealand is holding an information seminar in Kaikohe tomorrow, November 12, from 10am to noon in the St John Ambulance Hall on Raihara St. The seminar is followed by a one hour drop-in session for one-on-one discussion or personal support.
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