Farmers taking to the streets today are worried they could be left looking like "fringe nutters" if some take their anger at the Government too far. Groundswell NZ's Howl of a Protest will take place across the country, farmers protesting against increasing government regulations.
Groundswell co-founder Bryce McKenzie, of West Otago, said there was a lot of mental anguish in the farming community, but he hoped protesters would stay peaceful.
He wanted those who turned up to be passionate, but not angry.
"If somebody is angry about what's happening and they're thinking about coming on a tractor, we'd ask them not to do that. "We are speaking up for them, so they don't need to be out there taking out their anger on anything."
Organisation of the event had gone "really well" and each of the co-ordinators had their areas under control. Safety was the biggest concern among organisers and protesters had been given guidelines on how to minimise traffic and safety issues, he said.
Only time would tell if their message had got across, but he hoped the protest would be remembered for the right reasons.
Groundswell NZ has organised the protest in 47 towns and cities on Friday.
A convoy of 50 tractors and utes are set to thunder down Auckland's Queen St as thousands of farmers around the country gear up for a "howl of a protest" that will see vehicles parade through urban centres across New Zealand.
Federated Farmers national president Andrew Hoggard said there was a real risk of the agricultural sector being made out to look like "a bunch of fringe nutters". A big concern was offensive signage being brought to the protests, which would do more harm than good.
In last week's Federated Farmers newsletter, Mr Hoggard asked protesters to tell those who showed up with offensive messages to "bugger off". Just turning up would have an impact and their message would be shared by presence alone, he said.
The Herald understands the protest planned for Christchurch would start at the A & P Showgrounds before 11am and then tractors will descend ono Cathedral Square at 12pm .
Some protesters have been diverted to other Canterbury towns.
In Dunedin, Mayor Aaron Hawkins said he was unable to attend the protest, but if the protesters were looking for constructive engagement they should prevent the event being "hijacked by fringe conspiracy theories".
Communities in both rural and urban settings had a common interest in conserving the environment, but the differences lay in how to achieve that and how urgently.
Despite those differences, protesting was a proud tradition in New Zealand and "a privilege we should all cherish", he said.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said too many changes being made by the Government were disproportionately affecting rural communities and businesses.
"Metropolitan centres may be where the majority of votes exist, but we need a fair New Zealand which allows all Kiwis to thrive economically, environmentally, socially, and culturally," he said.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said he would be surprised if the protest was "anything other than an orderly event".
A police spokeswoman said the protest would be monitored to ensure everyone's safety.
Dunedin participants of the protest will drive through the Octagon about noon.