Christchurch company proposes to take over the 2024 New Zealand Agricultural Show

Canterbury A&P Show Country Living

Photo: Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

A Christchurch rental company is proposing to take over management of the 2024 New Zealand Agricultural Show to ensure this year’s event goes ahead.

In April, the board of directors of the Canterbury A&P Association announced it would cancel this year’s fair due to financial difficulties, and earlier this month the majority of the board announced they would be retiring.

Phil Anderson said his company, Event Hire, had sent the association a proposal to hold a scaled-down version of the show, with a reduced number of stalls and visitors.

He said they expected to receive between 30,000 and 50,000 visitors in three days. Last year the fair received 110,000 visitors.

They also propose moving the show from Thursday to Saturday, instead of the traditional Wednesday to Friday.

The Agricultural Show usually ends on the Canterbury Anniversary Day holiday.

Anderson said reducing the number of visitors would help the planning process.

“From a planning perspective, it’s good to work with a limited number of people,” Anderson said. “You can do pre-sales and manage your infrastructure. It really focuses on traffic management and bathroom infrastructure and so on.”

Anderson said they also want to reduce entry fees to make it very affordable for families and reduce the cost for stall owners.

Under the proposal, the association could lease Event Hire the land to hold a show in conjunction with the association’s showcase events, or have Event Hire partner and share in the profits.

“What we’re trying to do is eliminate a lot of the risk for them and just tell them here’s a guarantee of money they could make.”

Anderson said the proposal poses certain risks to the company.

“There’s definitely a higher risk to our company, the cost of doing it and the exposure. I mean, we want to deliver this really well and obviously people will give their opinion and you’ll be in the public eye.”

He said they also have an ongoing relationship with the program that they didn’t want to damage.

Anderson said they were encouraged to participate by several customers who normally have booths at the fair and wanted it to happen this year.

He said they will meet with the board on Tuesday and would need a decision by the end of May before planning can proceed.

The board of directors of the Canterbury A&P Association has been contacted for comment.