The Hawke's Bay A & P Show will go ahead this year but with some downsizing to protect its longer-term future.
Hawke's Bay's biggest annual event for more than 150 years, rivalled only by the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show over the past two decades, loses one of its scheduled three days, and it will have a more local focus, with its Royal Show status put on hold for a year.
They are consequences of the Covid-19 crisis and impacts on the business sector, which had already led to the cancellation of this year's New Zealand Agricultural Show (the Canterbury Show), the biggest A & P show in New Zealand, which was to have been held on November 11-13.
Numerous A & P shows throughout the country were cancelled as the Covid-19 crisis began in late March, and Fieldays, billed as the biggest rural event in the Southern Hemisphere and due to have been held this month, becomes an online only event to be held in mid-July.
The decisions on the show at Showgrounds Hawke's Bay Tomoana, now on October 22-23, maintaining its traditional lead-in to the Labour Day holiday weekend, were made by the Hawke's Bay A and P Society earlier this week and confirmed Friday by general manager Sally Jackson.
She said the crisis "nearly threatened" the historic show proceeding and added: "The society has had to make changes to the way it operates in order to survive and recover post-Covid." "With support from local and central government, alongside the society's family of sponsors and volunteers, who are the backbone of the organisation, we were given the confidence to proceed," she said.
"As one of the largest A & P shows in the country, this move signals confidence in the event industry and the eagerness of rural and urban communities to come together to recognise this extraordinary year and celebrate the primary sector," she said.
Modifications had to be made to ensure the show did not pose a financial risk to the society in the new economic environment.
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Jackson said the show resonates with the community of Hawke's Bay, as shown by the interest.
"We have had so many phone calls from the community far and wide about the event and we are incredibly proud to be able to honouring our traditions and the legacy of the agriculture and pastoral legends that created the event all those years ago," she said.
The show, which has foot-traffic of up to 30,000 each year, will focus on animals, the competitions, the prestige associated with winning the top agricultural prizes, and displaying the best of the best livestock to the thousands who attend each day of the event.
Jackson said the crowd favourite would remain the Petting Zoo, which was considered one of the best in New Zealand, taking pride of place in the event allowing families to meet and mingle up close with all kinds of farmyard animals.
The show's Great Raihania shearing and woolhandling competitions, and world-class equestrians again be features, along with alpacas, goats, cattle, sheep and home industries will also be represented in force across the show.
Society president Simon Collin, who, as a charolais cattle breeder, last year won the prized Meat and Wool Cup for a third time, said: "We are really excited to bring the best of Hawke's Bay country life to town for everyone to discover and enjoy. We promise there will be plenty of fun and excitement for everyone."