Hamilton, June 15, 2023
The much-awaited winter Fieldays is back captivating visitors with a remarkable showcase of agricultural trade, entertainment, education, and innovation. The event’s opening day witnessed a perfect blend of Waikato winter weather, breathtaking views with sunrise streaming through bouts of low-lying fog, and an overwhelming sense of excitement.
Fieldays is based on a 114-hectare site at Mystery Creek 10 minutes from Hamilton and is the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere. Fieldays draws people from around the globe, both as exhibitors and visitors.
Fieldays is run by the New Zealand National Fieldays Society, a charitable organisation founded in 1968 to advance primary industries.
The event commenced with a traditional pōwhiri and raising of the New Zealand National Fieldays Society and New Zealand flags, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the Society’s Chair, Jenni Vernon. Guests, including Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and representatives for Tumuaki o te Kiingitanga Hone Thompson, attended the occasion. Despite the below-zero temperatures, attendees gathered at the bottom of the hill, warmly dressed, to support the opening of the 55th annual Fieldays.
From 8 am on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, the visitors were greeted by over 1,000 exhibitors eager to showcase their products and services to longstanding customers and to meet new ones. The sight of people freely moving around was a heartwarming reminder of pre-pandemic times.
Peter Nation, CEO of the Society, said “It is truly heartwarming for all of us to witness such loyalty and enthusiasm in this current climate of economic uncertainty. Exhibitors have gone above and beyond, investing tremendous effort and expense into their site builds.”
In the face of current and foreseeable challenges, particularly for those living and working in recently cyclone-affected areas, Fieldays aims to bring a ray of hope. Mr Nation said, “The mood today from those through the gate has been buoyant and we hope that a day out at Fieldays will shed a bit of light on an otherwise difficult situation.”
Whether it is business networking, engaging with central and local government, reconnecting with industry professionals, or forging new relationships, Fieldays offers the perfect setting for the sometimes hard but necessary conversations that help to propel the primary industry forward.
This year, Fieldays also launched the long-awaited ‘Fieldays Sustainability Hub’ which was covered extensively in an Indian Newslink story recently. The grand opening ceremony commenced with a karakia and featured speakers, including Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Minister for the Environment Peeni Henare.
In the making for four years, the Sustainability Hub signifies a significant step in the right direction. The Prime Minister acknowledged the value of New Zealand’s produce and exports, and how our clean, green, sustainability-focused country makes us one of the world’s most desirable primary industry producers.
Mr Nation expressed his gratitude to the EPA and recognised support from the Ministry of the Environment in making the opening of the Fieldays Sustainability Hub possible. He emphasised the Society’s commitment to sustainability over the past 11 years and highlighted the Hub’s potential to educate and inspire change.
Minister for the Environment Peeni Henare extended his heartfelt appreciation to the community, and everyone actively engaged in sustainability saying, “Standing still (concerning the cold at Fieldays) will lead to frozen feet, and we cannot afford to have frozen feet on these matters.”
With favourable weather predictions and clear skies for the remainder of the event, organisers are excitedly anticipating three more days filled with connection, discovery and great business exchange. Mr Peter said, “We continue to expect strong numbers from around the regions as we have in previous years, reflecting our importance as a nationally and globally significant event.”
Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.