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All Go For Duvauchelle, But Taihape Cancels

A determination to keep alive a century and a half of rural community tradition could see a small Banks Peninsula settlement setting a path for A and P shows in the pandemic fightback early in the new year.

The Duvauchelle A and P Show, including the Peninsula Duvauchelle Shears, will go ahead on January 8, despite the cancellation of at least nine other A and P shows throughout the country in early 2022.

Headlining the demise is that of what was to have been the 111th Taihape A and P Show on January 29, including the central North Island town’s famed Gumboot Day, which was held around Easter each year since 1985 but which became a part of the show weekend for the first time last year.

Hit by the cancellation is second show feature the 60th Taihape Shears shearing and woolhandling championships.

Also cancelled are the Buller show (January 8), January 15 shows at Kaikohe, Wairoa, Takaka, Lake Hayes and Winton, the Banks Peninsula Show at Little River (January 23), and the Murchison show (February 19).

The January 15 shows and that at Murchison all include shearing sports, and the Southland Shears’ New Zealand Crossbred Lambs Shearing and Woolhandling Championships will still go ahead at Winton despite the cancellation of the show around them.

Organisers of the Wairoa Shears are looking at options, with the experience of having to twice at short notice in the last decade had shift to local woolsheds because of heavy rain at the showgrounds in town.

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The cancellations at Kaikohe, the Golden Bay show in Takaka and at Murchison mean there have now been 13 cancellations on the Shearing Sports New Zealand of 59 championships’ that were scheduled at the start of the season.

Only seven competitions have been held in the pre-Christmas phase, all in the South Island, and one determined to get the show on the road in the North Island again is the Horowhenua A, P and I committee, which will meet to consider the situation again on December 8, hopefully to confirm its plans for January 23.

Duvauchelle A and P president James Dwyer, also the shearing competition convener and hopeful of swapping the blazer and tie momentarily during the day for moccasins, a handpiece and a shear in the Open heats, is determined the show about 70km southeast of Christchurch Central will go ahead and be the first of the New Year, and possibly the first under the new Covid-19 Protection Framework, aka the “traffic lights” system.

He says the “traffic light” seems to offer a lot of opportunity and his committee will do its best to provide a top day in its open-air environment and as possibly the only show in the holiday season.

It remained to be seen which “light” the show would be under, but with many coming into the area from outside he’s confident the steps will be in place to maintain a safe environment.

He expects up to 30 shearers across the four classes, but appreciates there could be more or less, based on it still being holiday-time or on the shearing community’s determination to support what competitions there are.

Taihape Community Development Trust projects and events co-ordinator Pania Winiata says the loss of the show and the internationally-known gumboot throwing championships is devastating for the small town of which despite its main-trunk location is more than 70km from any town with more than its own population of less than 1800.

The shearing and woolhandling championships has been regularly about the third-biggest in the North Island after the Golden Shears in Masterton and the New Zealand Shears in Te Kuiti, with 103 shearers and 42 woolhandlers last January.

She says the show is an annual fundraiser for several volunteer organisations in the town, and while she’s “looking forward to 2023” she’s looking for innovation in the hope individual events from the show could still be held, even if at other times, or that new events may also emerge.

© Scoop Media

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