In excess of 120,000 flooded through the gates over the four days of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek. This is the biggest agricultural bun fight in town! Within an hour of arriving on Wednesday it was a celebrity train-spotter’s dream. Sir Colin Meads, Sir Henry van der Heyden, Allison Shanks, David Carter and John Key were but five of the celebs I managed to collar for the Farming Show.
PM Key jested tongue-in-cheek that he’d yet to come across a Labour voter at Mystery Creek and, tellingly, said he wished he’d never sold his equity share in a West Otago dairy farm. Van der Heyden looked like a content man despite the sky-high dollar, while Sir Pinetree was just rapt he was able to raise $45,000 for the Canterbury Earthquake fund by auctioning off a rugby jersey he wore in 1957.
# Big Political Story of the Week: The Earthquake.
Just when you thought it safe to go back in to the water (Jaws circa 1975) the water was back on the streets of Christchurch. In about the time it takes a human child to gestate, we’ve all learned about liquefaction and what the Richter scale really means. Earthquakes used to be something only Wellingtonians worried about. Now Cantabrians live with the daily threat of another big one hovering over their head like the hangman’s noose. The rest of us hold our breath knowing, there but for the grace of God, go we.
# Big Sporting Story of the Week: The Hurricanes Holocaust!
Without doubt the best quote of the past week came from Jimmy Hore, hard-case cocky from Central Otago and the father of All Blacks hooker Andrew. In reference to the sacking of his son and Ma’a Nonu from the ‘Canes, the wonderfully blunt farmer from the Maniototo was quoted as saying, “You don’t shoot your two best dogs before you go mustering, do you?”
It’s hard to beat earthy farmer logic and the way the playing ranks are dwindling in Wellington I reckon it won’t be too hard to beat Hammett’s Hurricanes in 2012.
# Brickbat: The Torturous Taniwha.
Columnist Kerre Woodham was right on the money when she said; “Another major infrastructure project and lo and behold, another taniwha appears. The capricious mythological figure seems to pop up almost as soon as the first sod is turned”. This was in response to limp-wristed Len Brown’s latest sop to political-correctness as he battles to build Auckland’s controversial $2.6 billion city rail system.
I will be accused of being culturally insensitive but, sorry, there’s nothing insensitive about being sensible. This country has a real job on its hands, not only to rebuild after the Global Financial Crisis but more importantly to rebuild its second-biggest city and its biggest agricultural hub. I’m all for jealously guarding our cultural heritage but if another taniwha rears its ugly head to slow the rebuild of Christchurch, I think I’ll collectively scream with 400,000 other Cantabrians!
# Bouquet: Roger Sutton and Stafix.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! In his first day on the job as head honcho at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), Sutton was welcomed with third and fourth biggest quakes since Canterbury started rocking and rolling back on September 4. If ever quake-ravaged Christchurch needed a positive man with a positive vision, then now is the hour. Lesser men would walk away. Even Graham Henry would agree, Sutton has just walked into the toughest job in the land.
Finally, the Stafix promotion on the Farming Show is proving a winner with punters (no pun intended) from rugby clubs all over Godzone. Stafix is giving clubs the chance to win one of three $5000 prizes to spruce up their stand, clubrooms or changing sheds. A recurring theme thus far from the numerous colourful entries I’ve received is that it would appear many country rugby clubs are dogged by dodgy ‘70s and ‘80s colour schemes. Brown, green, beige and orange patterned curtains and carpets - beer stained at that - no longer cut mustard. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a lick of paint for your grandstand or to drag your club’s décor in the 21st century!
Jamie Mackay is the host of the Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB. In a past life a Southland sheep farmer, these days he comments on farming, politics and sport for a living from the relative safety and comfort of his radio studio in Dunedin.