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160 years of bringing the country to town

160 years of bringing the country to town

The New Zealand Agricultural Show, in its 160th year, is coming to Christchurch again this November 15-17.

Show general manager Tracey Ahern says the show, which is the biggest A&P show in the country, is special because it celebrates the region's rich agricultural heritage and brings the heart of the country to town.

"These events foster strong community connections, showcase our local produce and livestock, and, importantly, help educate everyone about the vital role agriculture plays in our nation's economy and culture."

The Canterbury A&P Association was formed in 1863 and hosted the first show in October of that year after purchasing 14 acres in Sydenham, which later became Sydenham Park.

The first event saw 1,500 attendees and continued to grow.

With the Sydenham site becoming too small, the Association purchased a 29-acre block in Addington.

New entries flooded in from outside of the region, and attendance grew.

In the 1950s, Canterbury Anniversary Day was shifted to the Friday of show week, with the holiday making it easier for both town and country people to attend.

In 1997, pressure on the Addington site saw the show move to its current location at Canterbury Agricultural Park in Curletts Road.

In 2018, the Canterbury A&P Show was rebranded to The New Zealand Agricultural Show, cementing its importance on the national agricultural calendar.

"Sometimes, this is the only time farmers will come to town for a week, encouraging collaboration with industry bodies and enabling our Association to showcase rural leadership.

"It also serves as an opportunity to inspire and encourage youth to step into leadership roles within our community."

Weather has always been a challenge for the show, but the committee has implemented plans to mitigate inclement conditions.

"This year, our main challenge has been to design and set up spaces that can withstand a wide range of weather conditions, including rain, sun and wind.

"Our goal is to reduce the risk associated with these unpredictable elements, which have been a gamble to us over the last 160 years."

This year's show has something for everyone, and children under 16 can attend the show for free, thanks to the Kiwi Gaming Foundation.

"We're offering a nostalgic farm-to-plate artisan experience, a brand-new farmyard for kids to learn and enjoy, and an evening barn dance that guarantees a fantastic time for everyone," Ahern says.

The NZ Ag Show

Show location: 102 Curletts Road,  Christchurch

Parking:   Within the showgrounds

President: Anne Rogers

Vice president: Bryce Murray

Theme: Wool & Natural Fibre.  Special display within our newly created Wool Zone – celebrating the history of Wool kindly donated by NZ Merino to the 2023 Show.

Opening Times:

·       Wednesday 15 November 8:00am – 5:30pm

·       Thursday 16 November 8:00am – 7:30pm

·       Friday 17 November (Canterbury Show Day) 8:00am – 5:30pm

Ticket sales :

We’re currently at First Release prices:

·       Kids go free thanks to Kiwi Gaming Foundation!

·       Adult - $30

·       Tertiary Student - $30

·       Senior -$30

·       VIP Thursday - $199

You can purchase your tickets at -

Key Highlights:

·       New look Hazlett’s Children’s Lawn

·       Axeman VIP Event

·       La Croix & The Breeze VIP Marquee

·       Barn Dance on first ever late night.

Best place to follow for updates:

‘The New Zealand Agricultural Show’ on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn

ChristchurchNZ Website.

by Claire Inkson