Southland A&P Show's rich history will be celebrated next month with the 150th annual summer show.

What started in 1862 on a site near the Waihopai bridge then moved to a new site in 1867 at the Union Bank Enclosed Reserve in Tay St, where the first annual Southland A&P Show was held.

Southland A&P Show executive officer Tabitha Hazlett said the following year the show moved to Queens Park where it was held for 40 years.

In 1906, 30.5 acres (12.34ha) of swamp land was bought in the city in the Arena Ave area which was home to the show for the next 80 years.


In 2006, the executive made the decision to sell the grounds as the cost of maintaining old buildings continued to grow.

In March 2009, the Southland A&P Show moved to Ascot Park Racecourse, where it was held for three years, before relocating to the present home, Donovan Park, in 2012.

The history of the past 150 years was celebrated on Sunday, with an afternoon tea at Ascot Park Hotel.

Mrs Hazlett said organisers were looking forward to the 150th show and were hoping for a great turnout to mark the special occasion.

The Topp Twins would be a major attraction, performing two shows and given the task of judging the pet section.

''They'll be out and about throughout the day as well,'' Mrs Hazlett said.

One of the other major drawcards of this year's show will be the woodchopping, with a veterans' New Zealand versus Australia competition.

''There will be chopping throughout the day from 9am-4pm, with the big chop of New Zealand versus Australia at 2pm,'' Mrs Hazlett said.

A dog trial demonstration, large Clydesdale section and Edendale Vintage Machinery Group display will also feature at the 150th show.

A scurry race of miniature ponies and a traditional dress class in the equestrian section were welcome additions as well, Mrs Hazlett said.

The grand parade will then be held at 2.45pm.

There is no cattle section this year, but the cattle committee has organised a heritage set-up.

The 150th Southland A&P Show will be held at Donovan Park on Saturday, March 3.

- Southern Rural Life