Town­ies get taste of farm life at show

Marlborough Express - - NEWS -

‘‘Everybody pitches in.’’

San­dra Neu­mann is suc­cinct on how an A&P show comes about, and her de­scrip­tion de­picts the rich pas­toral tra­di­tion of re­gional New Zealand.

Marl­bor­ough’s show is in its 141st year since the Marl­bor­ough Agri­cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion held its first amal­ga­mated event in 1876. Neu­mann said var­i­ous peo­ple ‘‘put their hands up’’ each year to pull the event to­gether.

‘‘Some of these guys have been do­ing it for 40 years. They are amaz­ing.’’

Neu­mann said her forte was ‘home in­dus­try’ - bak­ing, sewing, pho­tog­ra­phy and group days - the lat­ter in­volv­ing chil­dren and their pets.

‘‘Peo­ple are so proud when they bring their bak­ing in. It gets big­ger each year and some of the things that come in are just amaz­ing. The sponges - how many eggs did that woman use?’’

Neu­mann said hun­dreds poured through the bak­ing tent tak­ing in the bak­ing and jams, of­ten say­ing they could do bet­ter.

‘‘Then you see them back next year, hav­ing a go them­selves with some­thing they’ve made. That’s how a lot of peo­ple get in­volved. It’s great.’’

Ju­nior vice pres­i­dent Fiona Hig­gins said the Marl­bor­ough Agri­cul­tural and Pas­toral As­so­ci­a­tion needed more young peo­ple in­volved in or­gan­is­ing the shows.

‘‘We want to keep the ru­ral tra­di­tion go­ing. We’re com­ing up to 150 years of this show, and it’s an im­por­tant part of New Zealand’s his­tory.

‘‘We don’t want to lose it, and the young ones have fresh ideas about how to keep it go­ing, and how to keep the pub­lic want­ing to come and have a look.’’

She said the show pro­vided a valu­able link for ru­ral and ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties, with young ur­ban peo­ple of­ten hav­ing lit­tle con­tact with the ru­ral com­mu­nity.

‘‘In the past, most young peo­ple had rel­a­tives or some­one they knew on a farm but it’s not the same now.’’

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