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Lawyer takes on President role in rural Association

Lawyer takes on President role in rural Association

Christchurch lawyer Richard Parkes was elected President of the Canterbury A&P Association, at the 2014 Annual General Meeting held at Langdale Vineyard Restaurant last week. Richard will be leading the Association into its 152nd year, thought to be the first time in the Association’s history that a non-farmer with Otago roots has taken the top spot. “It definitely reflects the progressive nature of the Canterbury A&P Association, awarding the Presidency not just to a city lawyer, but one with no farming background, born and bred in Otago. My saving grace is my wife Catherine (nee Bradley) who has a rural background, having grown up on her parent’s Canterbury farm, being of huge benefit to me” added Parkes.

Richard joined the Canterbury A&P Association General Committee in 2000 and took over the role of Chairman of the City Farmyard in 2003. One of the Canterbury A&P Show’s most popular attractions, the City Farmyard is an interactive children’s petting area that combines educational components with baby animals, giving young showgoers the opportunity to interact with farmyard animals.

“The City Farmyard is a hugely attractive part of the Canterbury A&P Show and one of the areas that as a volunteer, gives you the most gratification. The instant enjoyment you experience watching young children get up close with animals is very satisfying. The area has grown in size over the ten years that I have been involved. Its success is due to the volunteer commitment that is at the heart of the Association and the Show. All of the animals in the City Farmyard are hand reared to ensure that they can cope with the Showtime atmosphere. That’s six weeks of daily bottle feeds, it’s a huge commitment and we sincerely appreciate the support we receive” added Parkes.

With the size of the task ahead and Richard’s ‘day job’ as Partner at Christchurch law firm Cavell Leitch; it will be a challenging year ahead. “Cavell Leitch are an enthusiastic supporter of the community in which we work, the firm is naming rights sponsor of the NZ Jazz and Blues Festival in Christchurch. As one of the oldest law firms in Canterbury (established 1923) we also have a strong rural clientele which will hold me in good stead for the months ahead. I look forward to the year ahead and all of the challenges that the role of President involves” said Parkes.

Richard has a clear vision for the future of the Canterbury A&P Association and the annual Show. “It is no secret that the Show faced some very challenging times at the turning of the new millennium; however we are now in excellent spirit and financial shape following the outstanding efforts over recent years of the various committees, the Board and our event management team. In terms of the future, your vision is always dictated by budget. I am a strong advocate for retaining the rural atmosphere of the Canterbury A&P Show and holding true to the founding principles of the Association” commented Parkes.

Also announced at the recent Annual General Meeting were Nicky Hutchinson (Little River) as Senior Vice President and Warrick James (Coalgate) as Junior Vice President. In 2015 Nicky will become the first female President in the Association’s 150+ year history.

The 2014 Canterbury A&P Show will be held Wednesday 12 to Friday 14 November at Canterbury Agricultural Park in Christchurch. It is the largest A&P Show in the country attracting 100,000 people, 6000+ livestock and feature competition entries and close to 600 trade exhibitors.


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