In the first weekend of March, Walter Scott made his way to the Morrinsville Recreational Grounds to ‘clock in’ like he has done for the last 70 years.
One of the longest standing members of the Morrinsville A&P Society Committee, the gentleman in his nineties began helping at this year’s 101th show on March 3.
Walter says he grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Morrinsville and the show was very much part of his childhood.
“I showed ponies in the early days,” he remembers. “Mind you in those days that meant anything that was rideable, they weren’t as flash as they are now!"
Walter remembers the days when there were horses, pigs, sheep, dog trials and several cattle classes at the show, and there was much more emphasis on the draught horse competitions as they were still very much part of farm life.
“When I was younger, there were more sheep in the area than cows. The dairy farms that Morrinsville is known for now, came later.”
During World War II, the show was cancelled for two years. According to the Ministry there were much better uses for the rations of petrol that were in the country, than using it for getting people to an A&P Show.
When the show resumed in 1946, Walter had been working on the family farm for a year and was roped in to help with the working bee. “I went on the committee in 1947 and I’m still here, they can’t get rid of me,” he laughs.
Walter also acknowledges the high gate takings and interest in the show are due to the strong commercial support from the town – even 100 years on from when it all started. Through his 70 years with the Morrinsville A&P Society, Walter has been head steward of beef, head steward of horses, president, the Morrinsville delegate at the Mid Northern Council of the Royal Agricultural Society; and president of the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand.
At the 2018 show, he could be found in the horse ring, microphone in hand, calling the classes.
Morrinsville A&P Society president Bruce McRobbie says their annual A&P show goes from strength to strength as the years pass – remaining one of the biggest shows in the Waikato.