E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o nga hau e whā e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I extend warm greetings to you all.
I specifically acknowledge: Graham Mountfort, Chairman of the Auckland Agricultural, Pastoral and Industrial Shows Board; Duncan McNab, Chairman of the Royal Easter Show, Neil Sidwell, President of the Auckland Agricultural and Pastoral Association and Mark Frankham, CEO of ASB Showgrounds - tēnā koutou katoa.
Thank you for inviting Janine and me to the official opening of the Royal Easter Show this evening. We are delighted to be able to attend because the Royal Easter Show – the Show - and the organisations behind it have a special appeal to us and to New Zealanders.
The history of the Royal Easter Show is knitted into Auckland’s heritage cloak. There cannot be many events in our country that can trace their history back to the very earliest days of our colonial settlement.
When the forerunner to the Show first opened in 1843 Auckland was mostly farmland. That show was very much an agricultural event. The focus was on livestock and promoted the breeding of stud animals in the young colony.
The Royal Easter Show’s continued success demonstrates how, in moving with the times, the Show has adapted to ensure that those things that are of interest to Aucklanders are exhibited. It is a modern show for a modern city. And as the advertisements for the Show say “Visitors can literally go from feeding the lambs, to screaming their lungs out on a huge ride, to dancing along to a fantastic musical performance, all in less than an hour!”
It is pleasing there remains something of the Show’s rural beginnings. For some families, the animal displays, shearing and heritage areas at the Show offer things they may not have experienced. It’s an opportunity to see a slice of life on the farm in the middle of Auckland.
The variety of exhibits, shows and displays is an excellent example of across-the-board entertainment. During our walk-around, I was impressed.
Having had a quick look at Art World, I am looking forward to helping with the presentation of the arts awards. Artists have a very special role in documenting our national identity and that holds true whether you’re an artist working and exhibiting in Auckland or in a small town. The many artists from all around New Zealand who are taking part in the exhibition have shown an adeptness in reflecting our stories and the New Zealand experience in the visual form.
This year, everyone involved with the show will be pleased that it has regained its status as a Royal Show. Having that designation confirms the special significance this show has, not only in Auckland, but for all of New Zealand.
The Royal Easter Show offers different possibilities. For some it is the rural connection, for others it is the entertainment – the circus, the carnival rides and fireworks – and for many it’s candy floss!
This comment from an Aucklander sums up the Show well:
“I actually think the Easter Show is to Aucklanders what the A & P Show is to rural New Zealanders - it is that annual time of the year when the world stops just for a bit. The opening of the Show marks the start of the Easter Break and is a chance for families and others to live or re-live their childhood rides, eat chocolate and reminisce. For many Aucklanders, Easter would NOT be complete without an annual trip to the Royal Easter Show"
And so for many of us, Auckland and the Easter Show are complementary – the Royal Easter Show mirrors the vitality, the fun of Auckland. Accordingly, I now declare this Auckland Royal Easter Show officially open.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.