Motorcar almost stopped shows
The Matamata A&P Association held its first public show meeting on December 17, 1910. The first Matamata A&P Show was held three months later at the Matamata Saleyards on March 30, 1911.
On March 23, 1928, the Matamata A&P Association held an extraordinary general meeting to consider whether the association should be wound up, due to lack of interest.
The Matamata Record reported at the time: ‘‘ The two main causes of the present situation were thought to be the passing of people’s interest from horses to motor cars and the fact that dairy farmers are now breeding solely for production and not for show purposes.’’
There was a call for farmers and business people to become more invested in the show and for a wider range of entertainment to attract the crowds.
The show was held on a Saturday every February or March until the 31st show on March 1, 1941. There were no shows from 1942-44 because of World War II.
The Matamata Record reported on a record show held on March 2, 1935, with 146 stock entered and massive crowds.
‘‘This year, no doubt due to the fact that the herds are milking lighter owing to the drought, the people rolled up earlier than usual and by lunch time there was a record attendance.’’ Sections that year included cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and dogs, as well as fruit, vegetables, flowers, needlework, cookery and honey. There was also a school section, which included contests in writing, drawing, maps and ‘‘school handiwork’’.
A jubilee show was held in 1936 to celebrate 25 years and a Victory Show March was held in 1946.
The show was cancelled in 1948 because of a polio epidemic and 1962 because of ‘‘cyclonic weather conditions’’.
Dorreen White and her husband were farming in Te Poi in the 1960s and Dorreen entered the cooking section each year.
‘‘We had four boys at primary school and I was always rushing. The entries had to be in at a certain time, so we’d milk the cows in the morning, I’d rush home, change, pack up my entries, bring them into Matamata, tear
Crowd pleaser: Earl Johnston riding Hoki at the 1924 Matamata A&P Show.
Inaugural: The front page of the first ever Matamata A&P Show programme.