Prince Charles gives online Fieldays a royal launch

The annual Fieldays has been moved from the paddock to online.

Even though crowds would now be allowed to attend the event, the uncertainty during lockdown meant organisers had to pick a plan and stick to it, and that meant creating a live TV show instead of the traditional version.

The annual event is usually held at Mystery Creek but today there were no tents on the site - just fog.

For many farmers it's a family tradition that spans decades.

But a quick rethink by organisers during lockdown saw it moved indoors and online.

"People love the event, [with] some people coming every year for 50 years," says Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation. "I know how important it is for that community reach - this helps fill that void."

And giving it a royal launch was Prince Charles, who was one of the first visitors to the event back in 1970.

"I have such fond memories of attending my first Fieldays some 50 years ago," said Prince Charles.

Fieldays is a traditional winter boost for vehicle sales but this online event presents some challenges.

"It's a different experience, [you're] not going to be able to sit in the cab and look at all the bells and whistles," says Nation.

Last year there were almost 1000 exhibitors. This year 300 will take part in a livestream version over the next two weeks.
There will also be panel shows and cooking demonstrations.

"[It's] tough on the balance sheet but 52 years of solid work [and we've] got the resources to carry on - we will be back but it has been hard," says James Allen, president of the New Zealand National Fieldays Society.

The upside for 2020 is their audience is limitless - and could reach millions around the globe.

But they're hoping they'll be back on site this time next year.