Doris Rawsthorn with a fresh batch of shortbread. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON


The inviting fragrance of baking fresh out the oven hit me as I arrived to interview Doris Rawsthorn.

She was taking her award-winning shortbread out the oven in time for Friday’s Home Industries judging, a competitive section of the Masterton A & P Show.

“I’m a bit long in the tooth, I don’t enter as much as I used to,” Mrs Rawsthorn said.

The modest entrant has been entering her baking, vegetables and flowers for the best part of 22 years.

As treasurer of the Home Industries section for two decades, she knows the ins and outs of the show.


This year, she is entering shortbread, a sultana cake, a loaf of whole meal bread and two fruit muffin flavours — one batch of apple and cinnamon and the other red currant.

As she examines the still hot shortbread, she was not overly-impressed with the batch.

“They aren’t perfect, they probably won’t get a prize because they should be smooth,” she said.

She claimed first prize for her shortbread last year.

She refers to her cook books as her “bibles” even though she has been baking for decades.

When Mrs Rawsthorn and her husband moved into Masterton from their Wainuioru farm about 25 years ago, she felt she needed to join a social group or two.

“We farmed for 28 years in Westmere and I have lived in the country all my life.

“I just needed something to do once we gave up our farm.”

Entering her goodies in the show was a way to carry on her love for baking.

Over the past few decades, she has taken out plenty of awards, and even won the Betty Knott Cup for scoring the “most points overall”.

The Home Industries section is open to everyone who enjoys baking, making jam, gardening, quilting or even photography.

Each year, the section tries to offer a range of categories to keep things different, she said.

Last year, it received 33 entries of raspberry jams – which was most likely the most ever sent in.

Mrs Rawsthorn, who is also the coordinator of the jam section, decided not to have raspberry jam as a category this year, just to keep things interesting.

The role of treasurer is quite time consuming with the organising of prizes and vouchers starting in August, six months before the show.

Besides collating all the she entries, she also tots up the points after judging to determine the winners.

This year’s show Scottish theme is woven into the categories.

A Scottish baking category involves entering a Dundee Cake with four pieces of shortbread.

In the floral section, an entry of any flower can by submitted, but it must have a tartan ribbon around the vase.

Again, a new element to keep the show interesting.

Mrs Rawsthorn admits she leads a busy life but plans to keep entering her baking in the show as long as she has her health.