150 Year Celebration

The 150th Anniversary was a significant milestone in the Association’s history. It was celebrated through events and activities that showcased all that Canterbury has to offer while also acknowledging the legacy projects that have had long-term benefits for the showing movement and local communities.

In 2012 the Canterbury A&P Association celebrated its 150th A&P Show in style. Selected community organisations and not-for-profit groups were warmly invited to visit the Show in 2012 in groups to attend the celebrations.

Canterbury A&P Show Timeline from 1862 to 2012

  • 1862 First Agricultural Show held in Christchurch on 22 October (Armagh Street, north of Latimer Square).
  • 1863 Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association formally established on 23 January. The site of the first permanent Showgrounds was purchased in Sydenham (became Sydenham Park in 1894). First Show held on the new grounds on 22 October.
  • 1872 Record attendance - 8,000 people attended the Show.
  • 1878 The Show made a profit of £500 for the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association.
  • 1887 The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association purchased a new site at Addington (became known as Addington Showgrounds).
  • 1891 Ostrich’s and Llamas were exhibited at the Show for the first time.
  • 1918 The Friday of Show Week became People’s Day at the Show.
  • 1920 Show admission doubles in price, from 1s in 1919 to 2s in 1920 (s = shilling).
  • 1923 The Showgrounds were lighted with electric light, which proved a great benefit to exhibitors and enabled the Show to open on an evening.
  • 1925 Canterbury hosted its first New Zealand Royal Show, the first ever Royal was held in Palmerston North the previous year.
  • 1938 The most successful Show in the history of the Association to date, from the point of view of attendance, well over 60,000 people passed through the gates on the two days of the Show.
  • 1942 Military occupation of the Showgrounds during WWII forces the cancellation of the Show (1942-43-44). This was the first break in the history of the Association since it was founded in 1863.
  • 1950 Royal Centennial Show (Centennial year of the province).
  • 1950’s The official provincial holiday for the anniversary day of the province was shifted from 16 December (the date of the arrival of the First Four Ships), to the Friday of Show Week.
  • 1962 The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association celebrated its Centennial (100th) Canterbury A&P Show.
  • 1976 The headline in The Press on 13 November summed up the position in a few words “Show Coffers Hit by Weather – Worst in History”. In previous years bad weather at some period of the Show was not unusual, but it is the first time in memory that the Show was hit so harshly, with a dramatic drop in temperature and snow to the city. The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association accounts showed a $17,563 deficit at the end of the year.
  • 1996 The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association acquired a 250 acre block of land at Wigram from the Christchurch City Council (became known as Canterbury Agricultural Park).
  • The Christchurch City Council created an umbrella brand (now known as New Zealand Cup and Show Week) to coordinate the events happening in Christchurch over Show Week.
  • 1997 The first Canterbury A&P Show was held at Canterbury Agricultural Park.
  • Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association opened the Saleyards Complex at Canterbury Agricultural Park (houses livestock during the Show).
  • 1998 HRH Prince Andrew visited the Canterbury A&P Show.
  • 2003 Feature competitions were introduced in conjunction with the Canterbury A&P Show.
  • 2007 The Canterbury A&P Show received international media coverage with the escape of a ‘rampaging bull’ during the opening day.
  • 2008 Record visitor attendance in the Show’s history - 120,000 people visited over the three days. Visit from HRH Princess Anne. Celebrated 50 years of shearing at the Canterbury A&P Show.
  • 2009 Record livestock and feature competition entries at the Canterbury A&P Show - 7584.
  • 2010 The original Treasurer’s Hut from Addington Showgrounds was restored and used as an information office at the 2010 Canterbury A&P Show. The Show attained a Guinness World Record for the greatest number of people leapfrogging at a single venue. Record opening day attendance of 18,000.
  • 2011 The Canterbury A&P Show hosted its first wedding, held on Showday (11/11/2011).
  • 2012 The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association celebrates its sesquicentennial (150th) Canterbury A&P Show.

150th Initiatives

- Restoration of the Treasurer’s Hut

The Treasurer’s Hut, a Christchurch Heritage Protected Building, was originally a key feature at the entranceway of the Addington Showgrounds. It was the only major item that was moved when the Show relocated to Canterbury Agricultural Park in 1997. The building has been re-positioned within the Showgrounds and has been fully restored to celebrate the 150th Canterbury A&P Show. The project has been funded with support from The Canterbury Community Trust, Christchurch City Council Heritage Incentive Grant, Mainland Foundation, Eureka Trust and Canterbury A&P Association.

- Commemorative Book ‘When Country Comes To Town’

A book marking the 150th Anniversary and charting the history of the Canterbury A&P Association and the Show will be published and available for purchase in the lead up to the 2012 Show. The book will commemorate the history of the Show including coverage of past Shows, former Presidents of the Canterbury A&P Association, plus highlights from Shows past and present.

- Commemorative Whisky

A commemorative whisky, distilled, blended and bottled in Scotland has been released to celebrate the 150th Canterbury A&P Show. Imported with the assistance of Whisky Galore, the special blend has been described as ‘remarkably smooth, gentle and well balanced – full bodied and civilised’.

- 150th Anniversary Event

A very special Anniversary event is planned prior to the 2012 Canterbury A&P Show. This will be an opportunity for members and those who have a close association with the event to celebrate the Anniversary.

- Commemorative Tie

A quality navy, jacquard woven wool tie (60% wool, 40% polyester) with 150th Show branding has been released to commemorate the milestone in the Association’s history. Show organisers are confident that based on the look of the Association’s previous tie, this is probably the first re-design in 150 years!

- 2012 Canterbury A&P Show

Livestock and equestrian sections are all planning special extended schedules to celebrate the 150th Show including re-enacting classes from earlier years. Details on special events and additions to the entertainment programme will be available closer to the event. A 150th Anniversary Display will be open to the public with items from the Association’s archives as well as memorabilia collected from Association members and past exhibitors. A commemorative plaque will also be unveiled at the Canterbury A&P Show, signifying the milestone and acknowledging the support of the 150th Anniversary Patrons.