For 84 years the Wanaka A&P Show has been connecting the community and uniting the urban with the rural as an inclusive place where all people share a love of the land.
With humble beginnings as a small but lively affair in Wanaka (then called Pembroke), the Show is now one of New Zealand’s largest and most anticipated lifestyle events. But although the size and schedule of the Show has changed significantly, the original philosophy has not; it’s still a true celebration of community.
Upper Clutha locals have supported the annual Show since its inception and, as a way of saying thanks, the Upper Clutha A&P Society has contributed to various groups and organisations for more than 80 years. Some of the first donations on record include a third of proceeds going to the Women’s Division in 1936, a $10 gift to the Air Raid Stress Fund in 1940 and a $50 donation to the Red Cross Wounded and Sick Fund in 1941.
Wanaka Show event manager Jane Stalker says they are continually amazed by the support from locals each year.
“There is so much community involvement and we are very grateful for the support,” she says. “The Wanaka Show is an event for the community run by the community. Therefore, we like to give back wherever we can.”
But we’re not just talking about a couple of free entry tickets and a refreshment at the President’s Tent. The Wanaka A&P Show donates approximately $65,000 in cash and in-kind annually to Upper Clutha organisations such as the Wanaka Fire Brigade, Coastguard Wanaka, Plunket, Mt Aspiring College, St John and the Wanaka Toy Library.
Many members of these organisations devote their time to the Wanaka Show by manning ticket gates, making lunches, working as Ask Me volunteers and helping with the post-event clean-up.
The Show reciprocates by gifting grants, some of which help groups to purchase essential items such as uniforms or equipment, while other donations help vastly improve the quality of life for locals; one of the largest contributions from the Wanaka Show was a $50,000 donation to the Upper Clutha Hospice.
In 2021, the Show takes philanthropy one step further with the Cheers Wānaka initiative, whereby $1 from every adult ticket sold at the gate goes straight to a local non-profit. That’s a lot of love back into the community!
Proceeds will go directly to the Cheers Wānaka fund which will be distributed amongst local groups who apply to become a recipient. From small sports teams to registered charities, the Wanaka Show hopes to give up to 10 groups a much-needed boost.
“We understand that, thanks to Covid-19, some of our community’s important groups have lost opportunities to get funding. We want to do our bit to give back to the people that support us,” says Jane.
Groups can apply here – all you need to do is outline your organisation, what it does, who it supports, how much money you’d like and what you plan to use the money for. Applications close on March 5, 2021.