For many it may generate memories of yesteryear but the stewards of the Horowhenua AP&I Show's home industries section say they are getting new people all the time.

The Home Industries schedule full of knitting, preserving, home baking, weaving, flower arranging, needlework and so on with an entry fee of 70 cents per item and prize money varying from $4 to $20 is certainly out of this time.

"We are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to enter. They spend enough on the materials they need."

The Home Industries section started sometime in the late 1950s as far as stewards Jenny Burnell and Fay Hutchby are aware.


"It's about cooking, weaving, homespun items, jams, pickles, needlework and craft from knitting to crochet," said Mrs Hutchby.


There are several classes available for young people: 12-15 years old, 8-11 years old and under sevens and they generate quite a few entries too.

The biggest attraction at the show will be the Courts, where displays follow a predetermined theme and entrants are usually groups, like the Women's Institute or Rural Women. They must contain one item from each class and be a coherent theme. This year the theme is Fairy Tale.

"These groups work on this together for many months," said Mrs Hutchby.

Entrants into the Home Industries vary enormously.

"They are a real mixture from around the district and all ages. There are always new people. Once they get hooked...."

Flower arranging.
Flower arranging.

The stewards are proud of the consistently high quality of the entries year on year, and say the many rules such as what material to use, size of the label and the use of cellophane rather than a screw top on jams and preserves are there to create an level playing field. All entrants get a handbook spelling out the rules.

"We try and set standards, because sometimes a cake can look great on the outside but be not so good on the inside."

Most entries are of a high standard and there are a few very competitive entrants.

"Each show inspires visitors and we often take contact details so we can send them the handbook next year."

The 15 stewards put together the schedule for each year.

"We start as soon as the show is over. This important especially for the Courts theme. Then we meet about four times a year to work further on the schedule."

They say finding judges is the hardest part of their job.

"We would like to change them from year to year," said Mrs Burnell. They have 14 women and one male judge at the moment.

The week before the show the stewards and husbands roll up their sleeves and get the hall ready for the show by setting up the bays, cleaning the hall, and dressing the bays.

"Entries arrive on the Friday morning with judging taking place in the afternoon. When that is all done it is all about the presentation, showing off the products and their awards."

The 30 classes have certificates and ribbons for places 1-3 and then there are trophies for jams, cooking and needlework.

Very few entrants do something for all four disciplines - cooking, jams, preserves and pickles; needlework and craft; knitting and crochet - because perfecting an entry for into the show is rather time consuming.

The Home Industries section has its own building and is open from 9am to 5pm on Saturday and 9am to 4pm on Sunday.