Gates opened this morning on the 50th New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays, a day that has been fifty years in the making.
Golden anniversary celebrations started earlier in the year with an event at the Te Rapa racecourse paying homage to where Fieldays began as the Town and Country fair fifty years ago.
Over the last few months we’ve celebrated people’s Fieldays stories of finding tradition, love, inspiration, innovation and agricultural careers and today at the official opening ceremony we reflected on the last fifty years and started discussions around the future of farming.
The opening ceremony served as Fieldays’ 50th birthday party where we celebrated reaching this significant milestone with various people who have been involved from the beginning and those with special ties to Fieldays and its history.
New Zealand National Fieldays Society (NZNFS) CEO Peter Nation spoke at the opening ceremony of the changes the agricultural industry has seen over the last fifty years and introduced this year’s theme of the future of farming.
“New Zealand and our agricultural industry is vastly different to what it was in 1969 largely driven by our hunger and desire to be leaders in our special industry.” says Nation.
“As a small country at the bottom of the world we have utilised innovation and technology driven off the back of a Kiwi can do attitude to our advantage to make our mark on the world. Like our sporting achievements, agriculture also boxes far above its weight on the world stage. We produce world class food, world class technology and word class farmers.”
The ceremony continued with the raising of the Fieldays and New Zealand flags followed by the national anthem and finishing with ribbon cutting by NZNFS president Peter Carr and patron and the Governor-General the Rt. Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy.
Celebrations continued with the President’s Luncheon considered the icing on our birthday cake where guests were treated to a menu designed and prepared by esteemed chef Peter Gordon showcasing some of the best of New Zealand’s primary produce.
‘I was thrilled, and honoured, to be asked to create a lunch for the 50th celebrations. I decided to break tradition and serve a 5 course meal, showcasing the best of contemporary ‘ingredients’ grown and produced by New Zealand’s master farmers, innovators and forward thinking entrepreneurs’ said Gordon.
Courses at the President’s Luncheon featured exquisite kiwi cuisine from all corners of the country with each dish being matched with some of New Zealand’s fantastic wines thanks to Winefriend’s Yvonne Larkin.
Our 50th year of Fieldays saw over 1,000 exhibitors across 1,400 sites sign on to make this the biggest and best year yet. Day one started some light drizzle clearing throughout the day and saw 24,663 visitors come through the gates eager to enjoy the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event.