It’s out with the gummies and Swanndri and into jandals and stubbies as Fieldays switches to summer.
The annual agricultural trade show will next week take place for the first time during the warmer months as it plays catch-up after covid.
Dairy farmer Stu husband has been a Fieldays regular for the past 38 years.
This time round, he was looking to drop the winter woollies of the usual June schedule to slip into something a little more comfortable.
“I’d say most farmers will be going in jandals, shorts and a T-shirt… I’m switching to the summer dress for farming…no one will be wanting to wander around in a Swanndri if it’s 30 degrees.”
The four-day event, which runs November 30 to December 3 at Mystery Creek near Hamilton, is the largest agricultural gathering of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Attendance numbers reached 132,776 in 2021, before Covid put it in the back of the implement shed.
Former international model and equestrian Elizabeth Charleston, now brain injury awareness campaigner and fashion admirer, loved the buzz at Fieldays.
She had been going to the show since age five when her family would get to the Fieldays in the dark and have a boot party at the car while waiting for the gates to open.
For women, Charleston said the routine dress code included gloves, a jersey and a pair of classic red band gumboots.
But packing layers and preparing for a turn in the weather was still a good idea this year.
“I like to layer all my clothing and I can pull off the sweatshirt or something and tie that around the waist… it’s going to be different,” Charleston said.
“Comfort is the most important thing, but you want to look smart as well.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would be back in town to attend Fieldays and while the seasonal shift required some thought, there were classic rural rules that always stood.
“There’s no time in which you can’t pair gumboots with shorts.”
National Waikato MP, Tim van de Molen said red band jandals might just come in handy this year.
“Typically gumboots are pretty standard but this time of year I think I will be just relying on the trusty RM Williams boots instead…I’m looking forward to wearing sunnies at Fieldays for the first time,” Molen said.
Fieldays is run by New Zealand National Fieldays Society, a charitable organisation founded in 1968 for the purpose of advancing the primary industries.
New Zealand National Fieldays Society Chief executive, Peter Nation, was more drawn to a suit and tie, but he was expecting a change in looks and outfits over the show’s four days.
The myth of mud was long busted in his book.
“We’ve got 16km of road and all the internal roads are tar seal, so you don’t need gumboots…it’s a long way to walk, so you need comfy shoes, a water bottle some sun-tan lotion and a hat.
The event which had been running for 54 years had only ever switched its dates once before which was in 1970 for the Queen’s visit.
“This is the biggest business event in New Zealand by a country mile…this is the first time it’s been run prior to Christmas at this time of year which is right at the beginning of summer I guess.”
Husband was looking forward to trudging the grounds of Fieldays and visiting the innovation tent which just couldn’t be missed.
“I especially like the invention section, people have spent time standing in the cow shed and come up with some great ideas.”