By ROBYN BRISTOW
It was cloudy, cool, with occasional showers, but no-one cared.
Organisers, competitors and visitors to the Cheviot Agricultural and Pastoral Show last Saturday just went about their business, enjoyed the entertainment and did not let a little bit of drizzle dampen their enthusiasm for a good old community get-together.
In fact there were smiles from ear to ear and a positive vibe around the green oasis in a barren landscape burnt bare by drought.
“A golden weather day” with “golden stuff falling from the sky”, the announcer said as I pulled into the grounds.
And it was a day, followed by another couple of wet days, that will be the much needed tonic for a community under siege from the drought, the quakes and the isolation they have wrecked.
There was a lack of visitors from the north due to the coastal road being closed but the Kaiapoi Brass Band headed north to support the Cheviot community adding some sparkle and finesse to the day.
But those who could make it turned up. As I headed south again around 30 bikers rode by on their way to Cheviot to support the local businesses and show association, a ride that has become popular for them unimpeded by huge volumes on traffic that now has to take an alternate route north.
Their contribution would have been welcomed by all.
The heavy rain held off long enough for the community to enjoy the spectacle, the entertainment and competition, with all having fingers crossed the expected heavy rain would stay away until at least 4pm.
A community barbecue followed the all important show so everyone could enjoy the company, a good catch up, some fine food and ales – and the rain.
Presidents Philippa and Pete Somerville said in spite of the challenges the community had, it was a time to celebrate.
The quake had taken out transport, rail links and closed the road to the north, but the resilience of farmers, the effort, toil, sheer dedication and “bloody mindedness” of many ensured the show went on and the community remained strong, Peter said.
They welcomed the special guests of the show – the Web Ellis Trophy and the Ranfurly Shield – which did a lap of honour around the ring.
Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley said he was “proud” of the community in the way it had handled the challenges of the past few months and years.
“It is a great community and this show has a great feel about it,” he said.
He said the A&P Association’s grounds had been Cheviot International Airport during the immediate recovery efforts after the November 14, 2016 quake and he was proud of the way the community had rallied around to support the recovery effort in many ways including feeding the army of helpers.
Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith said he was proud to work alongside a community that had met the challenges of drought and the earthquakes head-on. The quake had set a new series of challenges, but the community had responded.