Wanaka A&P Show's adaptation to bridge urban + rural traditions

Wanaka A&P Show's adaptation to bridge urban + rural traditions

Keith Cooper, the new chair of the Wanaka A&P Show, offers an insightful discussion on the event's strategic overhaul designed to strengthen the bond between urban and rural communities in Wanaka. 

The conversation delves into how the show, a cornerstone for economic growth and agricultural resilience in Upper Clutha, is adapting to the area's rapidly shifting demographics. 

Cooper explains the impetus behind the new strategy.

"Wanaka's changed an awful lot since our forebears put in place the Constitution...so we're working on how we bridge that divide between the rural constituents and the increasing urban presence in Wanaka." 

He highlights the Wanaka A&P Show as a celebratory platform for rural accomplishments and considers the expansion of events throughout the year to enhance community connections. A key aspect of this year's event is the New Zealand Fine Wool Supreme Fleece Award, where a near-perfect fleece scored 99 out of 100, showcasing the region's high-quality produce. 

"We almost had the perfect fleece-winning entry," Cooper remarks, underlining the show's significance in promoting fine wool, a vital industry in Upper Clutha. 

He also touches on the substantial economic impact of the show, estimating that "over 40,000 people through the show this year" contribute around "23 million from the two-day show" to the local economy. 

The discussion turns to the practicalities of managing such a large event, including infrastructure challenges and the implementation of park-and-ride stations to mitigate traffic congestion. In terms of the Upper Clutha A&P Society's broader role, Cooper sheds light on the importance of understanding their identity and branding. 

"We are the Upper Clutha A&P Society and our flagship event is the Wanaka show at the stage." 

The strategic review's goal is to establish a clear direction for the Society and enhance its contribution to the community. The conversation wraps up with Cooper expressing gratitude to the volunteers who play a crucial role in the show's success.

He anticipates the future development of the show, focusing on "more events and how we invest in the community and, thirdly, what facilities we need to ensure that we can deliver world-class events." 

Listen to the full chat between Keith Cooper and Dominic George above.

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