Saturday, April 13, 2024

From humble beginnings to Northland star

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Northland Field Days started life in 1985 at the Dargaville racecourse as a project run by the Dargaville Jaycees.
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Northland Field Days started life in 1985 at the Dargaville racecourse as a project run by the Dargaville Jaycees, and regardless of the pouring rain, it was a roaring success with some 80 exhibitors.

In 1986 permanent power was added to 60 sites, which provided a welcome facility for exhibitors. 

After a period of economic downturn, 1990 had a huge increase in attendance of both exhibitors and visitors.  The increase has continued each year, resulting in the event becoming the largest in Northland.

In 2006 the land where the Northland Field Days is held now was purchased by the society, and is now home to the annual event. 

In 2009, with much appreciated help from the neighbouring properties, the road was sealed to help keep the dust down, making it a smoother journey into the site.

Since 2009 through grant funding and other financial assistance, Northland Field Days has been able to continually maintain the existing facilities, slowly upgrade electrical requirements, install one permanent toilet block along with another mobile toilet block and has moved from a tiny 6m x 4m office building into a brand new (and much larger) office building that was mainly built by Northland Field Days committee members.  

The Northland Field Days committee says it wants to retain the true “field days” atmosphere while also ensuring exhibitors and the general public have a safe and comfortable experience at the event.

Over time the field days has evolved, becoming an Incorporated Society, registered with NZ Charities Commission and as a not-for-profit organisation – annually it makes provisions to try to provide community grants for scholarships, research and more, aimed at reinvesting back into the rural sector. While the event eventually outgrew the Dargaville Jaycees, the entire event is still organised by a group of volunteers, supported by one staff member in the office. Wherever possible non-profit volunteer community groups are invited to be part of the event which has become a major source of fundraising for some of these groups.

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