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Nixon takes reins at Solway Showgrounds

Peter McWilliam and Tina Nixon holding the solid silver ‘President’s Tray’, which was awarded to the first Masterton A and P Association president, R.S Hawkins, in 1886. It is kept by the president for the duration of their term. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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The Masterton A and P Association board has elected Tina Nixon as their new president after the retirement of Peter McWilliam, who had been in the role for four years.

Nixon said she was “humbled” to be succeeding McWilliam, who had a long history with the association and was made a life member at the AGM this week.

“Peter has served the people of Wairarapa well and it is due to his careful stewardship that the organisation has weathered covid-19 and a general downturn in people attending the A and P show,” Nixon said.

McWilliam, a well-regarded beef breeder, made headlines a few years ago for his preservation of the rare purebred pustertal cattle.

“We are fortunate that Peter has agreed to stay on in an ex-officio capacity for another year.”

Nixon said she was also sad to see Guy Williams stand down this year, who she said had been an “invaluable” member of the team.

“We are also extremely fortunate to have Sue Tytler as our manager, as her financial management skills and her strong equestrian links have guided us through this extremely challenging time.”

The board was now looking at what the future could look like post-covid.

Like almost all A and P associations in New Zealand, they’ve had to face up to the reality that the traditional one-day show has apparently lost some of its appeal in the country.

In her new position, Nixon stated her desire to cement the showgrounds as a top equestrian venue – and also a place where the motorhome community could be well-catered for.

Masterton District Council has also agreed to part-fund a dump station on the site.

“One of our goals is to establish the Solway Showgrounds as the premier equestrian facility in the lower North Island, and a must stay destination for motorhomes.

“We also want to be the go-to space for event organisers.”

Nixon also welcomed the election of two new board members, Sophie Hansen and Belinda Milnes, who she said would bring a diverse range of new skills to the organisation.

Board members Josie Powell, the newly-elected vice-president, and David Holmes have agreed to serve another term.

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