Geography

Where town meets country

For 150 years, the agricultural and pastoral associations of New Zealand have been bringing town and country together at their annual A & P shows. For townsfolk, these events are a chance to reconnect with a pioneering rural past that for most of us is now a distant memory. For country people, the shows are an opportunity to display their skills at everything from cattle breeding to cake baking, wood-chopping to wool spinning. A & P shows (there were 108 last year) are held in towns, but the atmosphere is always country. In the bar at the 1992 Royal Show in Christchurch, the decor was wool bale brands from the great sheep stations of the South Island. At the Christchurch show, the beef was beefy, and so were the breeders. Te Anau farmer Paul Wright leads Silver Stream Democrat, his prize-winning Charolais bull, in the grand parade.

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