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.
Come 8am, when gates opened, visitors poured in eagerly to explore the vast site, braving the fresh start, and 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’s 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. The feeling from exhibitors suggests that despite their somewhat cautious expectations with two events so close together, they are humbled to see the foot traffic there today.
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. Peter 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's 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.
Addressing the pressing concerns of sustainability and climate change, Fieldays launched the long-awaited Fieldays Sustainability Hub. The grand opening ceremony commenced with a karakia and featured speakers, including Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Minister for the Environment Hon Peeni Henare, among others.
The Sustainability Hub, in the making for four years, 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 most desirable primary industry producers in the world.
Peter 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 Hon Peeni Henare extended his heartfelt appreciation to the community, and everyone actively engaged in sustainability saying, “standing still (with reference to the cold at Fieldays) will lead to frozen feet, and we can't afford to have frozen feet on these matters."
With favourable weather predicted for tomorrow, albeit another cold start, and enough clear skies for the remainder of the event, organisers are excitedly anticipating three more days filled with connection, discovery and great business exchange. 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."
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 New Zealand National Fieldays Society, a charitable organisation founded in 1968 for the purpose of advancing the primary industries.
The New Zealand National Fieldays Society thanks their partners and premier sponsor Hyundai New Zealand, Ministry of Primary Industries, One New Zealand and CASE IH for their continued support.
For more information head to www.fieldays.co.nz