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The past two weeks I have been busy writing a couple of articles for the coming West Otago A & P Society booklet. This year the group is celebrating 100 years, which is really something to shout about! However shows started long before that. In fact as early as 1875 interested runholders voiced opinions with support for augurating an agricultural and pastoral society in Tapanui and subscriptions were collected. A large amount of £400. Now this was a coup as the Otago A & P Society, based at Forbury in Dunedin averaged £600 per annum.

A meeting was convened by John McKellar at Noble’s Hotel in May 1876 where carried unanimously “That an association be formed to be called the Tapanui and Central Districts Pastoral and Agricultural Association”. The history of this group is interesting and the men who were management committee more so. The reasons for the clubs demise seemed unbelievable, however The Tapanui farmers’ Club was formed in 1880 and continued until 1910.

In 1911 a change came about, so this is all in a separate article to be written by Ruth Stiven. The second article I have penned is about the Rodger family involvement. James Rodger, aged 22, came to Otago as a shepherd aboard the Young America with the first shipment of Leicester ewes and rams for the province in 1862. He instigated the show movement calling for interested parties to form a society. At this time he was the runholder of Rankleburn Run, he named Deloraine. Before he was 30 he owned over 1000 acres freehold. Something he would never have achieved if he stayed in Scotland. His son Robert Alexander (RA) became the secretary and treasurer of the Farmers’ Club for many years. A brother to James, Alexander who became a D.P. selector on Glenkenich, was Vice-president in 1881, President in 1882. RA’s son Keith, his son Murray and Murray’s son Peter have all been presidents. So the Rodger family are the only locals who have been involved in the shows for every generation since 1875.

The show this year in November will be one to attend. Held on Saturday 19th, adds can be found in the local paper Blue Mountain Express. I will be there… I wouldn’t miss it!

 

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Amanda Rodger Dickson

West Otago - 150 Years, Farming & Families

Runholders, managers and shepherds