"I'm running the show here," says a youngster in a Scout necktie and cap. "I'm going to let you go first, since you're Press."

Our host is Lachlan Mackay, age 11, and we are standing at the gumboot-throwing stall at Farm Day in Tauranga on Sunday.

A bunch of queuing youngsters dutifully stand aside for a Bay of Plenty Times reporter who has quite a high opinion of his throwing skills. The gumboot is hefty enough to promise good distance, but there is some uncertainty over the best way to grip it for a decent aim.

"Toe first," says Lachlan helpfully. "One throw or three?"


"Just one," says the reporter.

The reporter aims for a spot down the paddock, whips his arm around in a blur and throws the gumboot in entirely the wrong direction.

Mothers gasp.

The gumboot soars towards of the lolly-hunt arena, where a dozen very small children are sifting through hay in search of sweet treats.

Luckily, it plops between them.

"Just as well you're only having one throw," says an onlooker.

We're at the Papamoa dairy farm of Andrew and Robyn McLeod, who have opened their gates to the public as part of an event run by Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and Focus on Dairying.

One of the more popular stalls is centred around a sheep-shearing pen manned by a couple of blokes resembling Wal Footrot. They are asking the watching kids which sheep they should shear next.

"The big one," says one boy.

"The fluffiest one," says another.

The fluffiest one it is. David Hodge wields the shears as Rick Powdrell provides commentary.

"The key to being a good shearer is using your feet to stop it from getting away," Mr Powdrell says.

Dylan Becker, age 4, grins as he holds up an armful of wool. What does he think of it?

"Garbage," he says.

"There's an honest quote for you," says Dylan's mum.

We move to the milking shed, where Malia and Evelingi Pearson, age 9, try a slurp of fresh produce after applying cups to udders.

As might be expected from twins, they have similar verdicts on the milk.

"It was really warm," says Malia.

"It was yum, and, like, really warm," says Evelingi.

An elderly woman shudders and walks away from the shed.

"I just can't be bothered with cows," she says. "I'm a sheep person."

Co-organiser Kim Cawte says visitors include lots of Koreans and a German or two.

"It's a wicked day."