Coronavirus: National Agricultural Fieldays to go ahead, switches to digital platforms

The Mystery Creek event attracts around 130,00 people each year.
The Mystery Creek event attracts around 130,00 people each year. Photo credit: Supplied

New Zealand's largest agribusiness event is moving to an online platform after the COVID-19 outbreak forced its postponement.

The National Fieldays at Mystery Creek near Hamilton attracts around 130,000 people over four days each June.

However the event was postponed after the Government announced in March all large gatherings of over 500 people were not permitted due to COVID-19. 

Event organisers, the New Zealand National Fieldays Society, said it is pioneering a new experience of Fieldays that will ensure its longevity in an age of social isolation and measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

Under the new plan, visitors will get a taste of the event via a virtual experience on digital platforms until the physical event is able to take place.

"We understand the economic ramifications would be extensive if Fieldays was cancelled entirely hence why we've decided it's a chance to be innovative in this time of global uncertainty," says CEO Peter Nation.

"We'll still be delivering a world class event on the world stage - albeit a digital version."

He says uncertainty has paved the way for innovation in times where there is no other choice otherwise.

Digital visitors will be able to pick and choose what they wish to view and at whatever time and pace they wish to do so. 

"The beauty of a virtual experience is that people can enjoy the elements of Fieldays minus the health risks dictated by the current environment," he says.

"This is not the end of Fieldays. In fact this is a new season for a new way of planning for an event we're dedicated to see remain strong in the face of uncertainty."

The Society has partnered with digital production company Satellite Media to deliver the online event experience. 

The Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek generated $549m in sales revenue for New Zealand businesses and an injection of $249m to the national GDP in 2019.