Past and present New Zealand National Fieldays Society members and invited guests get the first look at the new exhibition at Waikato Museum.

Celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand National Fieldays Society continued Thursday evening with the opening of 50 Years of Fieldays at Waikato Museum.

Society president Peter Carr welcomed guests and officials.

He thanked Hamilton City mayor Andrew King, councillors and staff for pulling together this expression of history and success, and Waikato Museum director Cherie Meecham and her team for their professional approach to this "rather unusual artistic subject".

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"Five decades of active participation in Fieldays brings with it a plethora of history," said Peter. "A history of initial dreams morphing into visions, small displays becoming huge presentations, a small initial team now turned, 50 years later, into something more sizeable, managing a multi-million dollar operation.

"It would be naive to think that such a growth does not produce memories, history, worth-while achievements and amazing memorabilia."

The first Fieldays were held at Te Rapa with the theme of bringing together Town and Country, and the one-day event resulted in 10,000 visitors viewing just 80 exhibits.

"Now almost half a century later, next month we will have 1442 exhibitor sites — hopefully being viewed by 135,000 people across four days," he said.

¦50 Years of Fieldays is open at Waikato Museum until August 19. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm daily and entry is free.