Fieldays is back – in its usual June slot - and for the first time since 2019, there are no border restrictions, giving the event the truly international flavour it deserves.
Having been down there on opening day yesterday, I can say the place is buzzing.
The rural sector across the country has been doing it tough this year – a wet summer, cyclones, floods, economic uncertainty – you name it, it’s happened.
Fieldays is a chance for farmers to get off the farm. There’s a lot of talk about well being in local government and while the crux of Fieldays for the rural sector is to do good business, just getting together with like-minded people is a welcome shot in the arm for many in our district.
Sustainability is a key theme at Fieldays, so much so that organisers have set up a Sustainability Hub this year.
They are keen to use the scale of Fieldays to help educate both visitors and exhibitors so that future generations will benefit from improved sustainability practices for New Zealand's food and fibre sector.
That way of thinking is reflected by our Council. The setting up of our new Sustainability and Wellbeing Committee means we will continue to put more emphasis on climate, on resilience as well as our very important rural businesses, farming and lifestyles.
The backbone of our district is the rural hinterlands and villages, where people are engaged in New Zealand’s primary industries.
For the district to grow and succeed, rural communities need to be supported, so they can continue sustainably.
Part of that is ensuring our rural infrastructure is up to scratch – a perennial challenge for all councils in New Zealand.
The rural environment and rural villages make a significant contribution towards our district’s economy.
This is just one of the reasons for my vision as Mayor of the development of a Rural Economic Advisory Forum – we need a way for the rural voice to be stronger in all that we do. Things are progressing well on this front.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, our position as the centre of the golden triangle, bounded by Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, is ripe for creating rural innovation and employment opportunities.
So, here’s wishing all our rural businesses who are doing business this week down at Mystery Creek all the best.
And have a great time if you’ve down there with the other 100,000 people just visiting and soaking in the rural vibe.
Ngaa mihi nui and warmest regards,
Mayor Jacqui Church