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Masterton A And P Association Elects New President And Plans For Post Covid Opportunities

The Masterton A and P Association Board has elected Tina Nixon as their new president after the retirement of Peter McWilliam, who has been in the role for four years.

Pete McWilliam  and Tina Nixon with the Presidents Tray which was awarded to the first president  R.S Hawkins in 1886.  It is solid stirling silver and bears the names of all the presidents in the past 135 years. It is kept by the president for the duration of their term.

Tina says she is humbled to be succeeding Peter who has a long history with the Association and was made a Life member at the AGM this week.

“Peter has served the people of the Wairarapa well and it is due to his careful stewardship that the organisation has weathered COVID-19 and a general downturn in people attending the A & P Show. We are fortunate that Peter has agreed to stay on in an ex-officio capacity for another year.”

“We are also sad to see Guy Williams stand down this year as well. Guy has been an invaluable member of the team and his skills in marshalling resources will be hard to replace.

“We are also extremely fortunate to have Sue Tytler as our manager, as her financial management skills and her strong equestrian links have guided us through this extremely challenging time.

“The Board is now looking to what the future could look like post COVID. We have arguably the biggest open space in the Masterton township and many unique buildings which can be used for all manner of activities. Like almost all A and P associations in NZ, we have faced the reality that the traditional one day show has lost its appeal and we are looking at other options. Once COVID restrictions are eased we will be holding an open day where people can come and see what the Solway Showgrounds have to offer.

Pre-COVID we were experiencing a huge increase in motorhome stays, equestrian events and weddings, as well as being a premier venue for large events like the Wairarapa Balloon Festival and International shows like Crusty Demons.

"One of our goals is to establish the Showgrounds as the premier Equestrian facility in the lower North Island and be the "must stay" destination for NZ motorhomers. We also want to showcase various aspects of rural and farming life and be the go to space for event organisers and to."

A public dump station for motorhomes, expected to be installed in a few weeks time, will be an extra service that will attract more stays by the motorhome fraternity.

The Board is also in the process of upgrading the website to allow people to book our big range of facilities on line.

"We are also looking to form a ‘Friends of the Solway Showgrounds’ group. We have lots of people who aren’t actively involved in showing animals anymore but want to support the grounds being retained for the benefit of the community, so this is one way we can get people involved in charting our future and enjoy some social activities.

Tina also welcomed the election of two new board members, Sophie Hansen and Belinda Milnes, who bring a diverse range of new skills to the organisation.

Sophie has a corporate background, farms in Ponatahi and was one the organisers of the Hay Run to drought stricken Hawkes Bay from the Wairarapa.

Belinda has a corporate and public sector background and has owned rural property in the Wairarapa for 23 years.

Current board members Josie Powell (newly elected vice president) and David Holmes have agreed to serve another term.

© Scoop Media

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