Baby goats popular with the kids on day one of the NZ Agricultural Show

Baby goats popular with the kids on day one of the NZ Agricultural Show

Sucking fingers, nibbling on tops and biting at hat cords, kids were getting busy on the first day of the NZ Agricultural Show – baby goats, that is.

Among the Hazlett Farmyard animals, the little goats with their floppy ears and curious nature were soaking up the attention while children waited patiently to be let in to their pen for a pat.

Charlotte Murray, 2, had her first encounter with the farm animals, her dad David Murray said. The family had a few acres in the Mackenzie Country with sheep and alpacas, but it was her “first time stroking a goat”.

The furry kids were brash and bold; mingling with school children and toddlers.

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The dust had barely settled from Cup Day as the show prompted crowds to queue at the gates for a close up with farm animals amidst the agricultural atmosphere, events and entertainment.

By 10.30am on Wednesday, 31,000 tickets had been scanned, which is what was expected for the entire day, the show’s general manager Tracy Ahern said.

Noah Britton, 1, reluctantly strokes a rooster.

CHRIS SKELTON/Stuff

Noah Britton, 1, reluctantly strokes a rooster.

It felt like a “dream come true” having everyone enjoying the show after a two-year break, she said.

“It’s surreal to have it back.”

Bags, hats and sunblock were a must for the day, with the temperature peaking at 23.9C at 2pm.

The Wood Chopping Arena was one of the first events on offer after entering the gates, and at 11am, it was drawing in spectators, young and old. Competitors cut through logs with comb-like saws like a hot knife through butter.

Across the way, nays and whinnies filled the air from the horses on show. Coats were shining and ponytails were plaited as Clydesdales in the field were judged on their walk, while nearby, horses and handlers were judged in best presentation.

The New Zealand Agricultural show in Christchurch had 31,000 people stream through the gates before 10.30am on its first day of the three-day event.

CHRIS SKELTON/Stuff

The New Zealand Agricultural show in Christchurch had 31,000 people stream through the gates before 10.30am on its first day of the three-day event.

The Livestock Pavilion could be heard before it was seen as the sounds of sheep bleating mingled with a cacophony of roosters.

Students, families and children were shoulder-to-shoulder taking a peak at well-groomed chickens, ducks and roosters – the noisiest of the bunch also judged first in the Orpington black male category.

Best overall bird prize went to a Coronation Suffex, which was “very pretty”, Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club president Ashley Shadbolt said.

“With poultry judging, it’s like dog showing, there’s a standard of perfection.”

Horses were being judged on their presentation as onlookers relaxed in the sun on Wednesday morning.

CHRIS SKELTON/Stuff

Horses were being judged on their presentation as onlookers relaxed in the sun on Wednesday morning.

NZ Poultry, Pigeon and Cage Birds Association judge Rodger Heaven gently handled the chickens and roosters from the cages which appeared to relax in his hands while he held their legs. Steward Heather McCormick said you just had to “know how to handle them”.

Amongst the farm, Jasmine Bishop said she had been going to the show for about 20 years after raising seven children, so it was “gutting” not to have it during the two years of Covid restrictions.

Her nana used to dress in her “best, finest outfits” back in the early days, along with all the other show-goers, she said.

Blink and you'd miss the wood cutters saw through a log in seconds at the Wood Chopping Arena.

CHRIS SKELTON/Stuff

Blink and you’d miss the wood cutters saw through a log in seconds at the Wood Chopping Arena.

This year she had joined Our Lady Star of the Sea students for the day out, seeing things come full circle as she remembered going with her school as a young student.

“It’s lovely to be back and experience it all again”, said show-goer Cynthia Cross who was there with her husband who traditionally took the day off work to attend. “We’ve been coming for I don’t know how long.”

Her favorite stop was the animals, she said.

She had “great conversations with them along the way”, but they didn’t always respond, she said.

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