Passionate about heritage

by Kent Caddick

This year’s Malvern A&P Show president is passionate about preserving the heritage and community aspects of the annual country shows.

The 119th Malvern A&P Association Show will be held at the Sheffield Domain on March 24.

Show president, Guy Bassett, said his involvement with the association, “just kind of happened”.

“Initially, I got strong-armed into being involved after I got rung up the day before the 2004 winter feed competition at the show, when the person running it got sick. I’ve been on the committee since 2004, mainly with the winter feed competition, but hadn’t had much to do with organising the show until about four years ago, when time allowed for more involvement.”

The Sheffield based Bassett family have run a contract seed drilling and planting business for 17 years and, until recently, have been leasing a cropping farm, growing a variety of seed and grain crops.

Originally from Te Kuiti in the King Country, Mr Bassett came down to Lincoln University when he was 18 to do a Diploma in Farm Management.

In his first week in the South Island he met his future wife, Jenny, at a toga party. The pair now has three children, Sarah,18, Charlie, 18, and Jessica, 14.

Mr Bassett said he had little exposure to A&P shows when he was younger but his wife Jenny had with the Mackenzie A&P Association’s Highland Show, where she had been a regular competitor from a very young age.

“So while I had little connection to the shows when I was growing up, through Jenny I now have been exposed to them for over 20 years.

“The heritage and community aspect of the A&P shows attracted me to them right from the start.”

He is not in favour of reducing the emphasis on the rural aspects of the show to help attract visitors from the city. 

“We need to be proud of the pastoral and agricultural heritage of the show,” Mr Bassett said.

He admitted he had been a little hesitant about taking on the role  of show president.

“I was a bit daunted by it, but the way the committee has pulled together over the last month I am confident of a well-organised show.

“We now have more entries than ever before in the history of the show, particularly in the horse section, and a number of new competitions.”

He said the thing he is looking forward to at the show, apart from ‘the barbecue afterwards’, is to see how these new competitions go as they have attracted a lot of the first time entries. They have been using social media as part of their marketing.

“We set up a Facebook page and that has gone really well both in terms of attracting new entries and now promoting the event.”