Celebrating cultures of Mid Canterbury

New Ashburton A&P Show president Victor Schikker is looking forward to running a full two day event this year.
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The Ashburton A&P Show is embracing and celebrating the many various cultures of Mid Canterbury, A&P Association president Victor Schikker says.

He has chosen the theme for this year’s show drawing on the extensive multi cultural diversity in the district’s farm communities.

It was in recognition of the changing faces of those on the district’s farms and in our communities, helping Mid Canterbury’s input on the world stage, and from his own experiences as the son of first generation immigrants to New Zealand.

In the traditional president’s tent, Mr Schikker is drawing on the reach of Hakatere Multi Cultural Council coordinator Mercedes Walkham, who will set up culture displays within the tent on some of the many different cultures in the district.

Each country has a set space in the tent where they can highlight their country, geographical location and some articles and clothing of interest.

‘‘They are involved in the grand parade as well,’’ he said.

‘‘They are going to come out with placards of their country (and in costume), just like the Olympic Games.’’ There were at least 12 countries involved as of late last week. The grand parade, led by the Ashburton Highland Pipe Band, is at 2pm. ‘‘It’s definitely about the people (this year) as opposed to machinery in Mid Canterbury and grain and seed – some of the topics we have had in the past. ‘‘It’s also a wee bit about me being the first generation from Dutch immigrants and what they have achieved, and what others have achieved,’’ he said.

Mr Schikker’s parents, the late-Kees and Mary, were the first generation to live in New Zealand after arriving from Holland. They owned a sheep and beef farm at Mt Somers.

On farms around Mid Canterbury there were people from all around the world, he said.

‘‘They are vital to the industry, farms couldn’t run without them,’’ he said.

A stock agent for the past 47 years, Mr Schikker has been privy to seeing many different cultures when out and about for work.

People of different cultures also worked in rural servicing positions and many agriculture farm support and supply roles, including rural sales and processing.

He is hopeful of a great turnout to the show across its two days believing people are keen to get out and about to events and the show had plenty to offer.

‘‘The children’s classes in the home industries pavilion there are 600+ entries, which is good considering they didn’t have a children’s class last year. That’s just schools promoting it,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m personally pleased to see the cattle class back again. The last cattle show we had was in 2017, so this is the first one since the onset of bovis (Mycoplasma bovis).

‘‘We’ve got Frances Beeston at the helm. It’s all calves – just calf classes – it’s targeting the children, there is no adult cattle in it.’’

Now he was just hopeful the weather will play its part and the two day event will go off without a hitch.