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Huge crowds exceed expectations at Wanaka Show

Huge crowds exceed expectations at Wanaka Show


At least 40,000 people have turned out to the 79th annual Wanaka Show this weekend – smashing last year’s crowd record by 5,000.

The Show grows in number every year but the 14% increase in attendants over the two-day event has exceeded expectations of the organisers.

“We’re blown away by the numbers this year. Yesterday was a busy day but today’s been huge. We even ran out of tickets and had to use our back-up supply,” Wanaka Show coordinator Jane Stalker says.

Official numbers would be confirmed over the coming days.

“It’s been a fantastic couple of days and we’ve had a lot of positive comments from our visitors – with some people even coming to Wanaka from the North Island specifically for the Show. It’s great that people know it as a major event for this region – something which our local community benefits from,” Stalker adds.

Trade exhibitor numbers were also up this year, with 472 stalls compared to last year’s record 460. Equestrian entries were up over 300, beating last year’s record of 290 combinations (i.e. one rider on several horses, or one horse with several riders).

The new park-and-ride initiative to reduce parking congestion in central Wanaka, which ran as a trial today, was a success and will be introduced across both days next year, Stalker says.

Wanaka Show guest of honour Catriona Williams, who attended the Show for the first time with her husband Sam, says they’ve had an “amazing” time: “We have come to an A&P Show that has heart and soul. Everyone here has been so wonderful. If you have got a bucket list, the Wanaka A&P Show should be on it,” she says.

A special fundraising event for Williams’ charity, the CatWalk Spinal Injury Trust, raised $6875 at the Showgrounds on Friday night. Auction items included a bottle of wine signed by Sir Mark Todd and a 2015 Rugby World Cup training jersey worn and signed by Richie McCaw.


Photo caption: A sheep shearing demonstration at the 2016 Wanaka Show. Photo by Jodie Rainsford.

About the Wanaka A&P Show
The Wanaka A&P Show is one of New Zealand’s largest agricultural and pastoral events, attracting more than 35,000 people each year. Run over two days and set on picturesque Showgrounds overlooking Lake Wanaka, the Show includes traditional features such as equestrian and livestock events, home industry displays, wool classing and more than 400 trade stalls from around the country. Home of the Beef + Lamb NZ Golden Lamb Awards, aka the Glammies, the Wanaka Show also runs novelty events – like the famous Jack Russell race, wood chopping and old-fashioned sheaf tossing – plus family entertainment and live music. The Wanaka A&P Show is held at the Wanaka Showgrounds on the corner of Ardmore and McDougall Streets, and Pembroke Park. Gates open 8am on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 March. Entry to the Show is $15 per adult for a one-day pass, or $20 for a two-day pass. A youth pass (13-17 years) is $5 for both days, and children aged 12 and under are free. Where town meets country, the Wanaka Show is the South Island’s premier lifestyle event. The Wanaka Show’s strategic partner is Farmlands, and major corporate sponsors are Hirepool, Plains Irrigation, ANZ and Archibalds Motor Group.

For more information, contact:
Wanaka Show coordinator – Jane Stalker, (03) 443 9559,
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Celia Crosbie
Written by Celia Crosbie
Celia is an award-winning former journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.