A move to rebrand Canterbury's premier show as the New Zealand Agricultural Show has raised a few eyebrows.
While the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) has sought to establish North Island and South Island Royal Shows in Hawke's Bay and Canterbury, the latter has opted to develop its own brand.
Event director Geoff Bone said the Canterbury A&P Association's general committee decided to rebrand as the New Zealand Agricultural Show, ''in view of providing a world-class platform for exhibitors to show their animals, businesses to exhibit and information to be shared''.
He said the Canterbury association remained supportive of the Hawke's Bay A&P Association, but ''we simply have different views to the RAS executive on how we modernise and innovate A&P shows in New Zealand''.
''The Hawke's Bay A&P are doing an excellent job in developing the Royal New Zealand A&P Show and we have been offering our support wherever practical to empower them to continue growing and succeeding.
''Unfortunately, a vocal minority of the RAS leadership do not currently support our vision and we have mutually agreed not to host a royal event for this year, or a Royal Show in the near future.''
Mr Bone said he was heartened by the support at a recent RAS Central Districts meeting where elected members ''voiced their unanimous support for our decision to rebrand''.
The RAS executive has responded by seeking feedback from member associations, asking whether their association believes the rebranding of the Canterbury A&P Show could prove detrimental to or enhance the showing movement.
Member associations will be asked to vote on it later this month.
In a letter to member associations, executive member Brent Snellex said the RAS executive and membership ''have expressed their concerns to the Canterbury A&P Association over their rebranding'', the impact of competing for sponsorship and ''the diminishing effect it may have on the Royal A&P Show''.
''Canterbury have deemed these concerns insignificant and from a minority of the membership,'' he said.
Ellesmere A&P Association president Trevor Hobson said he attended the recent Central Districts meeting and his association was supportive of the rebranding.
''I think all the Canterbury associations will be supporting it and I think it will be positive for the whole movement.
''The question was raised of 'would it impact on our show?' and we felt after we heard the discussion we were happy with the change and if anything I think it will help our association.''
Northern (Rangiora) A&P Association president Duncan Lundy said his association's focus was on October's Rangiora show.
''We have members who are also members of the Canterbury association and we have several members who are on the RAS executive, so we are keeping to a middle ground.''
-By David Hill
Central Rural Life