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Published: March 18th 2010
First Marshall Your Humans …
As I pushed the bike off the coal-fired steamer Earnslaw at Walter Peak Station, I heard a voice marshalling everyone except us cyclists. Like sheep, they moved in a great flock towards a paddock. The “voice” was a man wearing a leather hat with a curled brim and expensive looking clothing that would have been more in keeping in one of Queenstown’s fashionable stores.
Soon the “voice” was marshalling sheep, demonstrating to his flock of humans how one man and a couple of dogs could exercise control. It was probably a good demonstration, and the tourists probably enjoyed it.
A Truly Kiwi Environment
But I was glad I’d gone to Wanaka’s A and P Show a couple of days beforehand. There I’d seen farmers and their dogs competing in a truly kiwi environment - it was a glimpse of the real New Zealand. And not only were there dog trials, but also show jumping, and competitions for animal breeding, wool and even floral arrangements.
And to cap it all off, there were the Topp Twins. The lesbian sisters were a huge hit with the supposedly
conservative farmers as they poked fun at themselves, their audience and everyone else. As usual they came out with some songs (including a tribute to a shepherd’s best friend) and some classic one-liners that included a reference to giving birth, “it’s like having a pot roast come out your nose.”
A Missed Opportunity
In amongst the crowds were a few tourists in a town overrun with them. But not many had found their way to the A and P Show and I couldn‘t help feeling those not there were missing out on the joys of horse poo, the whiff of hotdogs and tomato sauce and offers from trade displays that included “buy three soil tests and get the fourth one free“.
Rural Life - Alive And Well
To me, the A and P Show was somehow reassuring - that life in rural New Zealand is alive and well. And for the $10 entry fee, it had to be a bargain. Oxfam donations can be made by credit card. Cope and paste this address into your address bar: http://www.oxfam.org.nz/events/teams.asp?a=show_team_pages&eventid=20&teamid=3838
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