The 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays saw 130,866 people come through the gates, well exceeding the average across the last five years of 125,000 people.
New Zealand National Fieldays Society CEO Peter Nation spoke at the opening ceremony of Fieldays success in advancing New Zealand’s agricultural and primary sector while honouring it’s three pillars of innovation, education, and internationalisation.
“As a small country at the bottom of the world we have utilised innovation and technology driven off the back of a Kiwi can do attitude to our advantage to make our mark on the world. Fieldays is a place to come and learn, a place to network or get support or a place to stage your next big idea.
"New Zealand has a reputation for producing world class technology, world class food and world class Agribusinesses. Fieldays celebrates this success and enables the rest of New Zealand to enjoy these achievements along with our many International guests that join us annually," says Peter.
Dubbed by several visitors as the perfect opportunity for farmers to have some well needed time off farm; Fieldays provides a change of scenery, a chance to recharge, catch up with friends and family, learn about the latest farming technology and to snag a bargain or four.
The life-saving Fieldays Health and Wellbeing hub was a new fixture in the line-up last year and it proved its worth again with exhibitors talking to several visitors on issues from skin and prostate health to emotional and social wellbeing and providing some much-needed check-ups.
Exhibitors also made the most of the largest agricultural event in the Southern hemisphere as a significant sales and marketing platform through which they can launch new products and services and strike up informative conversations with their buyers.
"We heard and celebrated a number of peoples Fieldays stories this year and for a lot of visitors, Fieldays is in their blood and they’ve made it a tradition every year to make the pilgrimage to Mystery Creek describing long standing exhibitors as part of the family.
"We’ve also heard of people finding inspiration at Fieldays and using Fieldays to launch innovative products aimed at enhancing the primary industry and shaping the future of farming."
Peter says this year’s theme the ‘Future of Farming’. “This focus represents both where our event has come from but also where we wish to grow and go forward.
"We understand for our valuable Agribusiness industry to expand we must look to the future, whether it is new foods, new and innovative technology or the youth of today who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
"Several well-thought-out innovations were featured in the Fieldays Innovations Centre where various people and organisations have researched the industry and come up with ways to improve efficiency, solve problems and provide more information on various agricultural topics."
More than 60 innovations were entered in the Fieldays Innovations Awards across the prototype, launch NZ and international categories with winners were awarded for picking good issues, researching them well and coming up with creative ways to combat them.
The new and improved Fieldays Kitchen Theatre was separated from the newly named ‘Pantry’ to stand on its own as a place for visitors to be inspired and educated by some of the country’s best chefs, says Peter.
The Kitchen Theatre showcased the inventive developments in New Zealand’s agriculture and culinary industries showing the connection from farm gate to dinner plate while encouraging healthy eating and food creativity.
Internationalisation was also a strong area with over 300 people from 42 countries visiting the International Business Centre.
The centre also hosted six delegations representing Korea, China, South East Asia, Australia and the UK as well as a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise international buyer delegation.
"Fieldays provides an environment for town and country to come together, for exhibitors to conduct market research and release new products and services, for farmers to see what’s new on the market and have some valuable time off farm, and for all to get together and celebrate New Zealand’s thriving agricultural industry."
2018 Fieldays fast facts:
- 130,866 visitors through the gates (Wednesday 24,663, Thursday 35,704, Friday 39,410 and Saturday 31,089)
- 1059 exhibitors across 1400 sites
- 180+ volunteers
- 34,801 Fieldays App downloads
- 8,801 cars pinned in the Fieldays App