Paula Bell- President
Paula started stewarding at Southland A&P Show just over 30 years ago, and once her and her husband Ken had children she was
involved with them showing ponies until they outgrew the pony sections. At that stage Paula became involved with the show planning committee, executive and became president.
Paula really enjoys watching the satisfaction of exhibitors being successful and showing their livestock at its best. Being on the show planning committee she gets a real thrill of our having the opportunity to bridge the gap between our urban and rural communities, and creating a
fabulous day out for everybody is also a great highlight.
When asked to describe her vision for future shows and what will be the big challenges. Paula said, “Constantly finding new ideas and initiatives to keep the show relevant and attractive to the community, exhibitors and volunteers alike, while maintaining the traditions of A&P shows. Keeping
young people involved and giving them roles to ensure the future of the show as our youth is our future.”
We asked Paula what she enjoys most about our show?
Seeing competitors reap rewards from hard work. Watching the urban children interact with animals. Encouraging our youth to take part in more major roles in the organisation of the show and seeing them succeed at this. Working alongside a hard working committee and other volunteers that make the show a success and the great friendships you make over the years.
For the best part of my life the Southland A & P show has been a day to look forward to especially back in the days when it meant a day off school.
In 1970 I was given the opportunity to become part of the show committee as one of three delegates from Young Farmers.
My interest has been the sheep section where for many years I stewarded, leading in the late eighties and early nineties to a term as sheep marshall culminating with the 1989 Royal Show. This led to a two year term as President one of which was presiding over the 1994 NZ Royal Show. My
involvement since then has been on our executive committee and show setup prior to show day.Due to recycling I found myself sheep marshall again in 2013, a job I now share in 2019.
Our audience has shifted to a larger portion of city folk rather than rural, and so this gives us a great opportunity to showcase what happens in the country, a very important task these days.
Helping organise a family event that is value for money has great food and entertainment and has everyone going home wanting to come back next year gives one a lot of satisfaction.
Although my wish is to step back a little, I hope to remain around to support the great young committee that are now driving our show.
Gillian is the Home Industries Marshall, she is also on our Executive Committee and at show time she is often seen helping out in the show office.
How did you first become involved with the A&P movement? My Father, Ian Harvey was heavily involved in the Gore A & P Association, and the RAS. I doubt I missed a Gore Show until after he passed away. Initially I exhibited pet lambs, always watching, with longing, the equestrian exhibits in the main ring. Finally at the age of 13 and in Gore’s Centennial Year, I rode my pony in the Show Ring! He wasn’t a Show Pony, and I relied on the farrier to take me to and from the show, but ride I did, and I can remember being happiness filled.
Gillian says that the aspect of the Southland A & P Show that she enjoys the most is the interaction between Town and Country. She loves watching families out enjoying what we have to offer, learning about the animals and other exhibits. She would like to think some of the children peering through the fence are imagining themselves one day competing at the show, just as she did.
From an early age my parents took me to the Southland A & P Show and it was a highlight of my year. My involvement commenced at the 1966 Centennial Show when I helped a neighbour with his Milking Shorthorn cattle and led a heifer in the Grand Parade.
In 1976 I started a Southdown Sheep stud and have exhibited at every Southland A & P Show since then. I was appointed a Southdown Breeders Club representative on the Directorate and later became a Director. Then came involvement in the administrative side of the Sheep Section, ending up with the position of Sheep Marshal. Between 2013 – 2017 I served as Southland A & P President.
The friendships formed over the years, through exhibiting Southdown and South Suffolk sheep and for a while Murray Grey Beef cattle, have been most enjoyable. I also enjoyed taking my own children to the Show with their pet lambs, calves and even the farm dog, in the Boys and Girls Classes. It was a busy time as well, when the Pony Club mount went for a year or two.
A highlight would be winning the Sheep Meat & Wool Cup in 2017 with a Southdown Ram I bred myself – after trying for 40 years!