Call it twelve decades and counting. To be precise, 127 years have passed since the settlers of the northern Kaipara harbour gathered to celebrate their hard work and farming prowess for the first time at the inaugural Arapohue Show. Like many of the traditional A&P shows established in the 1880s and 1890s, this annual tradition has continued down the years and is stronger than ever today.
That could be because the city and the country seem closer than ever thanks to modern transport and technology — after all, it’s only a two and a half hour drive from Auckland’s metropolis to the showgrounds on Mititai Road, in the heartland of the Kaipara. It’s likely also because a real traditional show day is so much fun, with everything from highland dancing to great food on offer
This year’s show will see families from far and near gather to take in a day of hearty food, live entertainment, rides for the kids, and of course, a full schedule of competitions as rural folks vie for the coveted ribbon of champion across a huge range of skills and pursuits. Despite cattle events being cancelled due to M Bovis precautions, other farm animals will be represented in their finest for judging. The region’s young farmers and Agri-kids will compete in a variety of challenges displaying rural ingenuity and skill. And to make the day affordable family fun, all the sideshow games will be running on a ‘gold coin donation’ basis this year to help all comers get amongst the action. Another big drawcard of the Arapohue show is the flashing blades of the shearers — part of the official ANZ Northland Shearing competition.
This sport is always hotly contested, providing a glimpse of the stamina and skill required to produce one of New Zealand’s most famous exports. With all this and more, it’s easy
to see why the Northern Wairoa Agricultural and Pastoral Association’s keystone show is 127 years young and why you can expect a big crowd when the action kicks off for 2019 on Saturday, February 19.