Every year during the middle of November, Canterbury celebrates the province’s anniversary holiday during the same week as the New Zealand Cup and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show.
Christchurch Show Day is also a public holiday in Canterbury, celebrating the official anniversary of the region. The Canterbury Anniversary Day was originally held on or around the 15 December, marking the arrival of the First Four Ships in 1850. However, it was changed to November in the late 1950s.
The first agricultural show in Canterbury was held by the Canterbury Pastoral Association on the 14 September 1859 at a farm near the Rangitata River. It wasn’t until 1862 when Christchurch held an agricultural show in a paddock near Latimer Square. A year later in 1863 the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association was formed and they bought a showground in Sydenham. This site eventually became too small so a large block (over 30 acres) in Addington, that would eventually be known as the Addington Showgrounds, was bought. It continued to be held there for 110 years but by 1996, the facilities were cramped and could not cope with the large crowds that would attend every year. In 1997, the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association acquired a 145-hectare block of land on Curlett’s Road in Wigram from the Christchurch City Council and was named the Canterbury Agricultural Park and this is where the Canterbury A & P Show is held to this day.
The Show has always been an occasion for town and country to mingle and over the years, the days prior to the Show and after have been the dates for classic horse races such as the New Zealand Cup, New Zealand Trotting Cup and the New Zealand 2000 Guineas. In 2005 the Christchurch City Council, created the New Zealand Cup and Show Week umbrella to coordinate these events and this has been continuing ever since.
Do you have any photographs of your experiences during New Zealand Cup and Show Week? You can contribute to our collection via the Discovery Wall website.
Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show. 2023. History of CAPA. [online]. Available at: https://www.theshow.co.nz/.
Christchurch City Libraries. 2023. The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show. [online]. Available at: https://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com.
Christchurch City Libraries. 2023. New Zealand Cup and Show Week and Canterbury Anniversary. [online]. Available at: https://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com.
More New Zealand Cup and Show Week
- Visit the New Zealand Cup and Show Week page on the Christchurch City Libraries website.
- Try our online quiz about the Show (some answers are in the post above!)
- Find titles about the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association.
- Find titles about horse racing in New Zealand.
- Attend the Canterbury A & P Show that is being held at the Canterbury Agricultural Park on the 15, 16 and 17 of November 2023.
- Attend the events during the New Zealand Cup Week (11 to 18 November 2023) held at either Riccarton Racecourse or Addington Raceway.
Discover Canterbury is a fortnightly blog post promoting beautiful, interesting, weird, & wonderful digital content from our Canterbury Stories and Discovery Wall collections.
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