If anything is a barometer of the confidence ordinary people feel for the economy, it’s the New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays, which celebrated its 44th showing at Mystery Creek, outside Hamilton, in June. And if this year’s attendance is anything to go by, then people are really feeling good, with overall attendance nine percent up on last year .
The gates closed on the world’s fifth largest rural sector trade show with a total of 128, 271 visitors, while the final day of the four-day event saw 30,292 gather, a whopping 40 percent up on the previous year’s Saturday. There were more than 1,000 exhibitors and a busy programme of demonstrations at the 88ha event centre. This year there was a strong contingent from the motor industry, and most of the distributors and dealers present reported strong sales orders, especially among the 4WD vehicles on display.
Prime Minister John Key paid a visit during the week, accompanied by Fieldays Society chief executive Jon Calder and president Lloyd Downing.
Those he met included Jasmine Creighton, Fieldays Young Inventor of the Year, and staff at the Swanndri stand, who persuaded him to try on an All Blacks Swanndri coat.
Jasmine (12) received the award for a pigtail transporter she invented for her science fair project last year. She had found it tough going moving pigtail standards and elelctric fence reels around on her father’s farm to control stock, and came up with her design, based on the concept of a golf trolley, which allowed the diminutive girl to drag along 50 pigtail standards and up to four electric fence reels.
The Golden Standard award, recognising excellence in innovation, was awarded to Vernon Suckling, of Ag Tech Industries Ltd, for the "Lifeguard" ATV roll frame, designed to help prevent injuries and save lives.
NZ4WD magazine spent a day there, and here’s a selection of displays and vehicles which caught our photographer’s eye.