By MP for Rangitikei Ian McKelvie
OPINION: It's easy to get the impression that all of New Zealand's main events are held in the top half of the North Island - or so our mostly Auckland-based media would have you thinking.
But the rural happenings coming up in the next few weeks in the lower and central region would debunk that myth - and we can be proud of the way that these events have grown, developed and prospered over the years, and of the huge voluntary effort that makes their success possible.
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- Annual Rural Games kick off this weekend
The Hilux Rural Games (held on Saturday and Sunday) have a by-line which states 'sports that built a nation preserving the legacy of our rural heritage for future generations' and a quick look at the agenda certainly confirms this: kids tree-climbing, hay-stacking, speed-milking and cowpat-tossing are examples of exactly what makes competitors come from far and near to compete in this unique event.
New Zealand Agri Food Week puts a spotlight on the Manawatu as this country's home of agri-tech, science research and innovation and is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our achievement and heritage as a food nation.
Central Districts Fieldays is now in its 26th year and can attract up to 30,000 visitors. This year, there will be more than 600 exhibitors in three days which will feature those consistent crowd favourites the Fencing Champs and The National Excavator Champs. Buying tickets online in the easy way to avoid having to queue.
All of these fine events are big contributors to the economy of our region and are looked forward to as annual events to be enjoyed by young and old.
Make the effort to take your family to experience these local happenings and enjoy the experiences which are on offer.
These well-established events make this region proud and deserve our support.
Ian McKelvie is MP for Rangitikei.