In a first for Taranaki, the New Zealand Royal Dairy Show will be held at the Stratford A&P Show this year.

Stratford A&P Association committee member Neil McDonald says it is a real coup for the Stratford A&P Association and for the region as a whole.

"It has never been held in Taranaki before, so this year's dairy show will be the most prestigious dairy show ever held in the province."

Junior vice-president of the Stratford A&P Association, Kylee Perrett, says having the New Zealand Royal Dairy Show in Stratford is great news for the region.

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"It attracts people from all over, so we expect plenty to come up from the South Island as well as from all around the North Island. Not only does that increase the number of people coming through the gates, but it means people coming to the region, staying here, eating here, and spending money locally. It will certainly be a great year for businesses to have a trade stall on site."

A picture of the young handlers class at last year's Stratford A&P show. Photo / Cliff Shearer
A picture of the young handlers class at last year's Stratford A&P show. Photo / Cliff Shearer

While Covid-19 has had a negative impact on many businesses and events, it is actually partly thanks to the virus that Stratford will host the Royal Dairy Show, she says.

"Hastings normally hosts it, but this year they have cancelled their event because of Covid-19. When we realised this, our committee decided to apply to hold the event here, and have just had the news our bid has been successful."

Kylee says the Hastings A&P Association has hosted the Royal New Zealand Show for a few years now.

"The Stratford A&P Show can't get the royal show status normally because one event has it for all the categories. We haven't been able to apply for that as the Stratford A&P Show doesn't have some of those categories, such as alpacas, sheep or home industries. This year though, because of Covid-19, the Royal Agricultural Society has allowed the royal show status to be separated out, so we were able to apply to have the royal show status for dairy."

Ivan Fredrickson, who is a past president and life member of the Stratford A&P Association, says the Stratford Show has also been given royal event status for this year's beef show.

"We have had royal event status for some areas in the past and we are delighted to be able to have it this year for the beef show, but the biggest excitement is having the royal show status, as that is a huge honour which has never been given to any of the Taranaki events before."

Having royal show status is something everyone in Stratford will benefit from, he says.

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"If the borders are open by then we will have international exhibitors and breeders coming as well. If not, we will still have the largest crowds than ever before coming, and for our local entrants, it is great to be able to show their cattle in this event as well."

Kylee says the Stratford A&P committee is now working hard planning the event.

"Between Covid-19 and M. bovis, we are having to work our way through a lot of paperwork and decide how to implement the needed restrictions, keeping people and animals safe while also putting on a great Royal Show."