Wednesday 29th May 2024
HomeRuralAnimals | PetsOver the Gate with Frankin A&P Society event co-ordinator Jacqui Wadham

Over the Gate with Frankin A&P Society event co-ordinator Jacqui Wadham

It may take a village to raise a child but it requires the efforts of folk from both town and country to pull off a quality A&P show. Recently, Rural Living chatted with the Franklin A&P Society’s event co-ordinator, Jacqui Wadham, who is in the midst of bringing together the new Counties Power Pukekohe Show.

Jacqui Wadham – leading events for the Franklin A&P Society. Photo Wayne Martin

A committee member with the society for more than 20 years, and former chief horse steward, Jacqui is now taking on responsibility for being the woman behind the show, behind our region.

How did you come to take on the new event co-ordinator’s role?
I have been secretary of the organisation since 2006. When the previous show planner resigned, the society restructured positions within the office.

As I had worked in conjunction with the show planner in the past, and had also worked in a similar environment at the ASB Showgrounds Easter Show, the committee asked me to step into the event co-ordinator’s role. This not only covers the A&P Show but any events that are hosted here.

We understand you train racehorses. Do you live on a lifestyle block, a farm or in town and have you been a trainer for very long? How do you find the time to combine both roles?
My late husband and I began training racehorses when we moved to Pukekohe in 1972. Harvey held the licence but I was always hands-on. When he passed away in 2013, I became a trainer in my own right. The early morning starts for the horses works in well for my job here at the showgrounds; you get into a routine!

Do you train your own horses or do you train clients’ horses? Where do you train – at home or elsewhere? Do you own thoroughbreds yourself and are you a punter too?
I am available to train clients’ horses and currently the horse I have in training is a family partnership giving us a lot of fun. I train out of Counties Racing Club here in Pukekohe although I do have a small track at home suitable for quiet work.

No, I am not a punter although I may have a little flutter occasionally. I prefer to win stake money – haha.

When did you first learn to ride and do you still ride for recreation e.g The Hunt?
My Grandmother bought me my first pony when we lived in Remuera and I grazed it in Victoria Ave – believe it or not we used to ride to the St Heliers Pony Club up Peach Parade onto Ladies Mile and out to Mertons Road past Winstone’s quarry! Imagine doing that now.

We later moved to Whitford and I joined the Papatoetoe Pony Club at Flat Bush. My parents were also part of a group who established the original Whitford Pony Club. As for me, I was very competitive at pony club events, representing NZ in show jumping, dressage and eventing. I also enjoyed hunting.

As the urban sprawl creeps further towards Pukekohe, is there still a future for Franklin A&P and other such shows?
Unfortunately, urban sprawl is inevitable. Even though some people think we occupy council land, the Franklin A&P Society owns the 52 acres that the showgrounds sit on. This makes us a bit different from those shows being pushed aside because they are not the landowner.

Do women who work full time outside of the home, or a farm, still enter competitions such as cake baking, preserves, vegetable growing etc or are these talents a dying art?
The Home Industry section at Franklin is still extremely well supported across all facets of the event. Each year we do subtle changes to the classes just to keep people on song. This year we have introduced an oil section for cold pressed oils.

What about local men do they still want to compete in events such as Counties Strongest Man, wood chopping log sawing and the like?
I’m not sure yet if there are local men involved in this year’s Counties Strongest Man event, however, the wood chopping has attracted several local choppers with the Waiuku Axemen always in contention. This year the wood chopping is on for the two days with a NZ Championship carded.

Is organising the A&P show a year round effort or does it all come together in two or three months?
It would be nice to think it only takes two to three months work! Once we tidy up this year the brains will start rolling again to see what new attractions we can find and how we can improve what was done right or wrong. We are always questioning ourselves as to how we can improve.

This year the show has gained a key sponsor and while it is still managed by the Franklin A&P Society it has been titled, The Counties Power Pukekohe Show. How helpful has this sponsorship been and what are the gains?
The show gaining major sponsorship from Counties Power has been fantastic and very motivational to us all. For us, having Counties Power involved has certainly inspired others sponsors to become involved.

Has there been any reaction to the name change from locals or hasn’t it sunk home yet? If it hasn’t, do you think the new name will be welcomed?
We have had some comments but when we explained that, unfortunately, Franklin does not register as a place (township) but Pukekohe does most folk seem to understand. To get outsiders to the show we need to use Pukekohe – it is what registers in people’s minds – they live in the township of Pukekohe, they see it in newspaper reports, it will be on their GPS, on motorway signs and more.

If you could grow any plant or raise any animal what would it be and why?
Horses, of course – silly question for me!

If you could be Minister of Agriculture for a day what would you do first and why?
Listen to the farmers who are trying to look after their investment. Believe in them. They [farmers] know what they’re doing; their future depends on getting things RIGHT.

They are the food baskets for this country; if they are not supported the ‘food baskets’ will be EMPTY”. Then what will we do? Certain people are looking through “rose tinted glasses” and not looking at real life. Not everything comes in a glass jar, a paper bag or a can. So much comes from hard-working farmers.

If you could ask three people (living or dead) to dinner who would they be and why?
Sir Edmund Hillary because he achieved so much through sheer willpower and positive thinking

My paternal grandparents because I know nothing of them and would love to know more about their life in Scotland and my overall ancestry.

Also my maternal great-great-grandparents who were in the building – Ford’s Theatre – at the same time Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. What a story they could tell!


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