National championships in sheep dog trials, ploughing, rodeo, shearing and farm fencing have now been postponed or cancelled as rural sports join the near-blanket cancellation of public events because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Associations' annual round of championships were the latest to fall. The cancellation was announced on Sunday to members around the association's 13 provincial centres by NZSDTA president Pat Coogan.
The North Island Championships were to have been hosted by the Wairarapa-SHB Centre near Masterton starting on April 27 and the South Island and New Zealand Championships were to have been held in Southland starting on May 18.
They are the first island or national championships cancellations in 76 years, since the last of the World War II cancellations in 1944.
The New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association has also cancelled its national finals which would have been held at Miller's Flat, Otago, next Saturday, determining its champions on rankings after other events throughout the season.
Also postponed or cancelled are the New Zealand Shearing Championships, which were to have been held in Te Kuiti on April 2-4, the New Zealand Ploughing Championships which were to have been held at Takapau in Central Hawke's Bay on April 4-5, and the Golden Pliers national farming championships which are part of the annual and now-postponed National Fieldays, which would have been held at Mystery Creek, near Hamilton, on June 10-13.
Other major rural events which have been cancelled include the Central Districts Field Days which would have been held last Thursday-Saturday, and numerous A and P shows, including the Royal Easter Show in Auckland.
The Sheep Dog Trial Association has pushed its rota of its big events back a year, meaning the Wairarapa-SHB and Southland centres will now host the respective championships' in 2021, while the National Ploughing Association hopes its annual Silver Plough Championship will be able to be held later in the year.