WRESTLERS and Wall of Death motorcyclists are Poverty Bay A&P Show history, but attractions like dog trials, wood-chopping, agricultural displays and highland dancing are forever.
Despite the timelessness of the Show’s core events, organisers are always looking to improve exhibits, traffic flow and to attract more visitors.
Show secretary Derek Allan says the association tries to improve the Show every year.
“Now the Show is on during the school holidays, it is a two-day entertainment. The association has to think of a whole new way of marketing it.
“This is the second time the Show has been held during school holidays. That’s the main thing we’ve got to think about while keeping the livestock side of things going.”
Stilt-walkers were brought in for the first time this year along with Wanaka Adventure Park’s motor stunt show, which took over the arena when horse-jumping competitors stopped for lunch.
The flow of foot-traffic has also been reconsidered.
“We have caged birds in the Farmyard Nursery now and that leads to the goats. This has been the first time so many people have been to see the goats.”
Mr Allan says attendance numbers on Friday were up upon last year and all the trades exhibitors he had spoken to were pleased.
Even grey sky and a strong north-westerly wind did not deter visitors on the second day of the Show. In the wine and food area behind the highland dancing stage, out-of-town products included Blair’s Death sauces and habanero-flavoured “death rain” crisps.
A couple of stalls along was Ruahine Wines’s soft-gold and sepia-toned stall. Spot-lit at the back was a copper still that owner Damon Pratt imported from Portugal this year.
Farm dogs and farmers came from as far as the last house in the far north to southern Wairarapa to compete in the Gisborne yarding challenge this year.
Green-jacketed farmers in hats and baseball caps sat inside a corrugated-iron roofed shelter to watch five winners from each of the three days of dog trials compete in the finals. The finals are called run-offs.
Paul McGlade of Taumaranui said only two competitors from this event will go to the national event in January. McGlade said Gisborne holds one of the best yarding competitions in the country.
“The sheep were a bit jumpy on Friday, though. No one has ever worked out what that’s about.”
Poverty Bay Sheep Dog Trialling Association spokesman Trevor Brown said the run-off on Saturday was good because the sheep were calm and consistent, which gave everyone a fair chance.
“There’s always an element of luck. Sheep have the final say.”
Leo Jecentho of Kaitaia brought his dogs all the way from the Far North to compete in the Gisborne competition. Mr Jecentho lives in the furtherest house in the North Island.
“My nearest neighbours are in Australia,” he said.
“I have to drive one and a half hours to get to my club.”
Despite his much longer drive to Gisborne for the yarding event, Mr Jecentho and Cap came 11th.
Pete Campbell and Dime took first place, Don Wickham and Tom came second while Fraser Willson and Spike were third in the run-offs.
Down past the jumping arena, the events centre was a labyrinth lined with cages of prize-winning decorated cakes, spring-themed dioramas and novel animals made from fruit.
Women admired the baking at one end of the building, while at the far end, men and boys pointed at Gisborne Aero Club’s model planes.
In between, vendors demonstrated wares ranging from vegetable slicers, hand-held massagers, miracle whisks and tilting beds as brightly-costumed stilt-walkers stalked through the crowd.
Wind carried the roar of the Ferris wheel and distant squeals into the trades park, where big marquees and flapping banners lined grassy avenues.
The new Turbo Boost ride was closed because of the wind.
Power Farming Gisborne manager Mark Lewis said traffic flow on the second day of the Show was good but the point of the display was to generate leads.
“It’s not often you sell on the day. Having said that though, we sold a ride-on mower.”
An open-fronted marquee housed a biofuel project display and hi-definition crane simulator.
Eastland Wood Council chief executive Trevor Helson said the simulator had been flat out all day. Interest in biofuel had been high although at this stage an extraction and conversion process from charred wood waste was still experimental.
“It’s a future technology but it will happen one day.”
At the Stonehaven Memorials site, sisters Sue Apanui and Kathy Akuhata admired a couple of black granite tombstones.
One was carved as a guitar and microphone. The other was an angel hugging a heart.
While the finish on the angel was natural, the high polish of the heart was achieved through seven stages of polishing with diamond pads, said Stonehaven’s Chris Gedye.
Mrs Akuhata said she wanted the guitar and microphone-styled headstone for her daughter, who is alive and well and a musician.
Mrs Akuhata hugged the angel.
“I want this one for myself. Death is a part of life.”