Organisers of the Wanaka A&P Show are welcoming two new members to their team at this year's event, with a focus on the future.

Grounds manager Geoff Dickey and education officer and livestock co-ordinator Mike Elliot were hard at work yesterday putting up signs and enjoying being part of the ''huge'' event.

Born and bred in Wanaka, Mr Dickey said his role was multi-faceted and included a lot of planning.

Geoff Dickey
Geoff Dickey

''Some days I'm plumbing, other days I'm putting up fences. Today it's signs; it's always different.

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''At the end of every day I'm writing down what we got done, so we have a record for future shows of what needs to be done and when, before it starts.''

Mr Dickey said that had not happened in the past, and with the organisers ageing and the show growing, a record was needed.

Mr Elliot agreed.

''At the moment the people just know it off the top of their head, but eventually we're going to fall off our perch and there needs to be a record so the next guy can pick it up and know what to do.''

A former president of the South Otago A&P Show and long-time dairy farmer, Mr Elliot said he had a vision of educating townsfolk and children about agriculture at the show.

''One of my big concerns is the gap between town and country nowadays and I want to try and close that off, especially at a show like this, where you've got so many townspeople coming, so why not try and get as much country into them as we can.

''We've got a fantastic show and we want to build on that, but make sure that the agricultural side is not lost.''

He said his plan would not come about until next year's show, but he would spend time at this year's edition getting some of the big names, such as Farmlands and PGG Wrightson, involved with his vision.

''My aim is by next year start getting things for kids to come and pet animals and try and understand what farming is all about, because we are an A&P show, after all.

''We could have someone doing a skirting demonstration with a fleece, things like that.

There are all these things that we're used to doing in the country and don't think twice about, but the townies have no idea.''

Both men believed the show, now in its 82nd year, was still the most important event in the town, particularly its benefits for many community groups, who had the opportunity to earn thousands of dollars.

The Wanaka A&P Show starts on Friday and runs until Saturday afternoon.
sean.nugent@odt.co.nz