Friday, 22 December 2017 08:55

Ploughing champs heading south in 2018

Written by  Fraser Pearce

It last happened 60 years ago: the Deep South hosted the final of the NZ Ploughing champs in 1958.

And it’s about to recur, on April 14 and 15, 2018, when the Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club will host the 63rd New Zealand Ploughing Championships.

These championships -- all run with the NZ Ploughing Association -- will next year be held on AJ and RL Hall’s farm ‘Rochavon’, and Nathan and Leigh Ronald’s property, just outside Thornbury on Foster Road.

Competitors with crew, marshals, judges and supporters will come from all over New Zealand. The national competition final was once known as The Silver Plough. But since the reversible and other classes were added it became known as the New Zealand Ploughing Championships.

The Thornbury Vintage Tractor & Implement Club, well known for its museum, is located just off the main Invercargill-Riverton highway. That land was once home to Southland’s first farm. Now the club’s Rural Heritage Centre tells Southland’s farming story in an array of early rural heritage exhibits.

During ploughing contests tractors like the Avery, Sampson Sieve-Grip, Mayer Bro’s Little Giant and the Hart-Parr were taken out and put through their paces, often competing with several horse teams.

In recent years competitive ploughing has seen a real resurgence. With the introduction of a ‘classic’ class competitive ploughing has revived; more people want to compete and learn the art and skill of ploughing.

To be eligible for these championships, ploughmen and woman must have earned points at various qualifying events held by different ploughing associations nationwide.

The NZPA holds a dedication church service; for this event in the Riverton Union Church, followed by its annual meeting in the Riverton RSA nearby.

After the final, awards will be presented at an evening function in the Wallacetown Community Centre. All the locations are about 30 minutes drive from Invercargill.

• Fraser Pearce is president of the Thornbury Vintage Tractor & Implement Club.


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