Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup says there is a lot of apprehension among farmers about the future as they follow and experience the disruptions caused by Covid and also by the war in Ukraine.
Event manager Sue Wilson says they are well prepared to cope and have a robust plan in place.
"The Expo is all about quality rather than quantity, so our numbers are very containable," says Wilson. "We are determined to make this work."
Extra staff will be brought on to help manage the additional work for the event, which is backed by the Wairoa Community Development Trust. There will be a one way system in place around the expo. The six defined zones of the Expo will be limited to a maximum of 100 people at any one time.
"It is disappointing that an event of our size is excluded from the Government's Events Transition Support Payment Scheme where arts and culture events with attendee capacity of 100-5000 ticketed or un-ticketed are covered," she says.
Wilson has written to both the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) as well as the Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash but has had little joy.
"The outlay of costs are relevant to the size of our event and will affect small local businesses who have already been affected with the cancellations of A&P Shows, and charity fetes and markets," she says.
"Given how important the agricultural sector is to New Zealand, something that was particularly highlighted during Covid times, I would have expected a little more thought to be put into this. Some certainty for our events in provincial New Zealand would be appreciated so we too can continue to plan and roll out gatherings that are critical to the tapestry of our regions."
The Expo is set to run February 23-24 at the Wairoa A&P Showgrounds and has attracted a stellar line-up of exhibitors and key note speakers include some of New Zealand's brightest lights, like Sir Ian Taylor, serial entrepreneur Logan Williams and the inspiring Shaz Dagg, alongside seminars on stock handling tools, dog training, animal health and more.
Where & When
What: East Coast Farming Expo
When: February 23-24, 2022
Where: Wairoa A&P Showgrounds
More Info: www.eastcoastexpo.co.nz