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History of the Show

This year marks a monumental year for our Show, as we welcome a new name to the event we have all grown to love. As we continue to champion all that is great about the rural communities of Canterbury and further afield, we open the doors to new technologies  as we continue to represent an ever-diversifying industry.

Steeped in over 150 years of history, the Canterbury A&P Association formed a medium offering support to like-minded individuals with a shared passion for all things rural. As the Association grew, it welcomed the addition of the Canterbury A&P Show to its calendar, spreading the message of the hard-work executed by many to keep our traditions, culture and rural industries alive. It is testament to this drive that the Show has grown to the phenomenal event that it is today, welcoming over 100,000 visitors through its gates and allowing a forum for innovation, exhibition and proving a feeling of community like no other.

The earliest record of any such ‘Show’ held by the Association is on Thursday, October the 6th, 1853. Called the ‘Cattle Show’, the event was held in temporary yards in what is known today as Victoria Square. Over the next few years, the location of the Show varied, until the Association purchased land in Sydenham in 1863, providing a settled home to the Show for the next few years.

As popularity for the Show increased, the need for a bigger home became evident, prompting a move to grounds in Addington, with the first Show being held there in 1887. Addington remained home to the ever-growing show for 109 years, until demands called for a physical and emotional move to the Canterbury Agricultural Park, the Curtletts Road site we are all familiar with today.

The Addington site held a place amongst all members of the Association’s heart and the rich history and investment was something the Association wanted to be reflected in the new Showgrounds. This led to the Association bringing a little slice of history with them in the form of the Treasurer’s Hut, still standing proudly on the Canterbury Agricultural Park Showgrounds to this day.

To innovate and grow allows the opportunity to broaden our horizons and seek new value amongst the everyday. The Canterbury A&P Association is still formed by a like-minded group of people, with a unified aim of driving the Association forwards. The Association has weathered many years of dynamic change and the move to rebrand reflects and builds upon our history to shore up our future.

We are proud to have witnessed how the Show has grown over the last few decades and eagerly anticipate our future as the New Zealand Agricultural Show, with the best years certainly set to come!

Information for the above has been taken from ‘When Country Comes to Town: A Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Canterbury Agricultural & Pastoral Association & Show’ written by Rosa Shiels.

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