A&P Society member Ewan McGregor is calling on the Government to save the Hastings showgrounds from a housing development.
A controversial proposal to put housing on the iconic Showgrounds Hawke's Bay Tomoana was made public on Tuesday.
McGregor, the author of Hawke's Bay on Show, which delves into the 150 years of A&P history, said the land must be preserved.
"The showgrounds are regarded as the finest in the Southern Hemisphere and their potential as an open area, available for public use, must be maintained at all costs," he said.
The traditional role of A&P Societies and the shows they run, in Hawke's Bay's case for 157 years, has changed and the local society has worked valiantly to respond, and to widen the role of the showgrounds, he said.
Hawke's Bay A & P Society general manager Sally Jackson told Hawke's Bay Today there had been "robust discussion" about Tumu Group's approach to the society at a first meeting of the society's general committee on Tuesday night.
But the meeting was more about information sharing, and no decisions had been made, she said.
"We will be reconvening again in the next couple of weeks to have further discussions."
The showgrounds have been home to the Hawke's Bay A&P Society since 1911, however the land's history extends much further back and links the Tomoana and Nelson families, whose actions shaped the future of the fertile area.
Ngati Huata, a relation of the Tomoana whanau, said there was a lot of history in the showgrounds, but she did not want to comment on the specifics of the proposal without knowing exactly what it was.
"Our waipuna is still there, our whakapapa."
Tumu Group's Barry O'Sullivan said they were the developer who had been in discussions with the Hawke's Bay A&P Society.
"The A&P Society is in the process of considering the matter. No further comment will be made by Tumu Group until that process is completed."
McGregor said Covid had been a "huge" blow. "However, a solution to their preservation in some form of ownership must be found.
"This is bigger than just Hawke's Bay, and of sufficient importance to warrant central Government assistance.
"Therefore, the local MPs must do all they can to harness the Government resources.
"The capital value of this land for residential development is, obviously, very great, but what value of this jewel for the enjoyment of future generations.
"Well, let's start with preserving the showgrounds."
Apple grower John Bostock, a member of Save Our Fertile Soils Society, previously said he had been approached by the A&P Society and developers for his support of the "incredibly short-sighted" development.
"We will employ every resource possible to stop the vandalistic developers from ruining this beautiful, historical piece of land," Bostock said.
Hastings District mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and executive Nigel Bickle said earlier this week the council had been informed by the Hawke's Bay A&P Society that they had been talking to developers about opportunities at the showgrounds, including housing.
"We thanked them for letting us know, and informed them that the showgrounds is not designated in the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development strategy for housing, that it is zoned plains production land," the pair said in a statement.
"Council has not received any applications for any development activity on showgrounds land."