As Rangiora farmer and writer Philip Worthington put together a history of the Northern A&P Association to mark its 150th anniversary this year, he was struck by how connected the annual A&P show and its founders were to community and national affairs.
Several of the association’s first committee in 1866 were also members of Canterbury’s Provincial Council – the movers and shakers of early Canterbury.
This made for vigorous debates at meetings about the location, timing and nature of the agricultural and pastoral show to showcase the district’s achievements.
And the early association committee members were not afraid to have their say on issues of the day. The book, Rosettes and Ribbons in Rangiora, has interesting and quirky snippets of issues that attracted the association’s attention: the introduction of the English wood pigeon to New Zealand, the death of Captain Scott in the Antarctic, Tb testing for cattle and New Zealand’s contribution to several wars as part of the British Empire.
Equally colourful characters have been involved with the show down through the decades.
The book covers milestones in the show’s past, some of which coincide with significant events in North Canterbury’s history. Colour and black and white photography add to the story and depict shows including this year’s 145th show held at Labour Weekend. You’ll have to read the book to find out why the tally is 145.
Mr Worthington’s aim was not so much “an exhaustive history but an attempt to capture the spirit of the Association, its links with the community and the changing face of what most people know as the Rangiora Show”.
Members of today’s committee were invited to contribute memories of their own families’ participation in the show.
The book will be launched at an anniversary dinner at the Rangiora Showgrounds’ function centre on December 16.
Copies of Rosettes and Ribbons in Rangiora: 150 Years of the Northern A&Pare available for $20 and can be bought by contacting the show secretary Debbie Cameron on (03) 3136945 or email email@example.com.