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First Auckland A and P Show

19 December 1843

Winning pet lamb, Palmerston North A & P Show, 1958
Winning pet lamb, Palmerston North A & P Show, 1958 (Alexander Turnbull Library, EP/1958/3828-F)

Agricultural and pastoral shows celebrating excellence in agriculture and animal husbandry became annual events in communities around New Zealand.

In 1843 Auckland was mostly farmland, and the show began as a purely agricultural event. Its main purpose was to display livestock and promote the breeding of stud animals in order to increase stock diversity in the young colony.

The Auckland Agricultural and Pastoral Association was the first of its kind in New Zealand. By the 1860s, similar organisations were appearing across the country and working to enhance many aspects of rural life. Around the turn of the century, more political matters were taken over by the new Farmers’ Union. From this point, putting on shows became the main focus of the agricultural and pastoral associations.

By then the Auckland A & P Show had taken root, attracting big crowds and many industries. Only cataclysmic events such as the 1918 influenza pandemic and the Second World War (during which the showgrounds was commandeered as a military base) could prevent it. A change of name and season came in 1953, when the A & P Association and the Auckland Manufacturers’ Association combined to present the first ‘New Zealand Easter Show’.

Nowadays Auckland’s Easter Show is one of New Zealand’s most popular family festivals. As well as traditional agricultural events, it includes a prestigious art exhibition, a wine competition, live entertainment, rides, crafts, sporting events, and stalls.

How to cite this page

First Auckland A and P Show, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated