As we leave winter behind and head into Spring, New Zealand’s rural communities start gearing up for A&P Show season.
Agricultural and Pastoral Shows in New Zealand sprung up not long after the first European settlers arrived. With farming at the very heart New Zealand’s colonial history, interest in annually displaying the fruits of the horticultural and agricultural abilities of a particular area became an important part of the calendar. This tradition carries on until today.
Whilst most kiwis now live in our towns and cities, the huge amount of people that visit our local A&P shows illustrate that we’re still a country that has a strong tie to our rural roots.
In Christchurch, most people are very aware of the Canterbury A & P Show, mainly thanks to the show falling on Christchurch Anniversary Holiday, which has come to be known as “Show Weekend” and is an anchor event during Cup and Show Week in the city.
With our strong local agricultural industry, it’s no surprise that Canterbury hosts several shows throughout the Spring and Summer.
We’ve compiled a list of what’s on and where within an hour or so of Christchurch TOP10. To make it easier for you to plan your show calendar, we’ve listed them in date order.
1. Canterbury A & P Show – 11-13 November 2015
The big show where the country comes to town. Unlike many of the other shows below this is also a trade event, with the first day aimed at rural business. On display you’ll find more than 6000 livestock competitors and over 500 trade and retail exhibitors. There’s entertainment on offer for all ages. Find out more at www.theshow.co.nz
Rural Canterbury A&P Shows
2. Ellesmere A&P Show, Leeston– 17 October 2015
Traditionally the first A&P Show in the Canterbury region, the show at Leeston has been running since 1869. There’s always lots of livestock and other attractions on display, including a Wearable Art competition and the Ellesmere Brass Band.
3. Rangiora A&P Show – 23-24 October 2015
The Rangiora show is one of the few rural shows run over two days, with the horse competitions and Friday night Carnival preceding the main events on the Saturday. The farmyard nursery is sure to be a hit with the kids.
4. Amberley A&P Show – 31 October 2015
Just an hour North of Christchurch, this show features all the usual attractions, including the ‘So you think you’re a farmer’ rural team challenge for the young and the not so youthful.
5. Ashburton A&P Show – 30-31 October 2015
The largest two-day show in Mid Canterbury, Ashburton show features competitions for horses and dog trials over both days, plus highland dancing, pet lambs and much more.
6. Courtenay A&P Show, Kirwee – 21 November 2015
This year sees the association’s 140th Show and has a theme of Lifestyle Block and Boutique Businesses. Just 20 minutes from Christchurch, this is the closest rural show to the city. A great day out for young and old!
7. Duvauchelle A&P Show – 9 January 2016
This small show takes place in a beautiful location at the head of Akaroa Harbour. The highlight of the day is arguably the terrier racing , but the shearing competition is always hotly contested too – particularly if it’s a swealtering Canterbury summer day!
8. Banks Peninsula A&P Show, Little River – 23 January 2016
Like Devauchelle, this show is set amongst the beautiful Banks Peninsula landscape and features the Peninsula to Plate lamb competition, showcasing the very best local produce. The kids petting farmyard is always popular, as is the Dog High Jump!
9. Mayfield A&P Show – 12 March 2016
This show kicks off a busy three weekends for Mid Canterbury showgoers. Mayfield A&P show features traditional and unique show events including the very popular pig racing!
10. Methven A&P Show – 19 March 2016
After celebrating their 100th show last year, Methven A&P will start off their next century with the usual rural competitions plus Art and Crafts, Wine and Food Festival, Segway rides around the showgrounds, archery and side shows.
11. Malvern A&P Show, Sheffield – 26 March 2016
Founded in 1899, the Malvern show continues with traditional show classes in equestrian, handicraft, domestic produce and livestock but also features mower racing and a giant pumpkin competition.
These are just a few of the shows in the South Island this Spring and Summer - to find out dates and locations for all South Island shows head over to the Showday Online website