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Traffic jams, hot weather and a record show crowd

Bumper crowds at the Wairarapa A and P show at Clareville on Saturday. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

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Bumper crowds at Clareville Showgrounds enjoyed a summery 2019 Wairarapa A and P show but the event’s popularity caused traffic jams on State Highway 2.

Organisers enjoyed record takings as the warmer weather brought families and party-goers out over the show’s two days, Catherine Lord of the Wairarapa A and P Society saying they had enjoyed an “amazing show”.

“We caught up with all the trade sites … and they’ve had a great show, they’ve been really positive about it.”

Police were also pleased with the behaviour of those attending the A and P show, a spokesperson said.

But visitors arriving by car on Saturday for the first full day found themselves in tailbacks along the main road.

Police were called in to manage the traffic jams from Waingawa bridge at the north end, and into Carterton to the south. Some journeys from Masterton took over an hour.

The delays will be discussed at the event debrief and lessons will be learned for next year’s show, and other big events in Wairarapa, Sergeant Ian Osland said.

He urged motorists to be prepared to make extra time, consider other options, and be patient if faced with congestion.

“[Saturday] was a bit of a perfect storm. Along with the forecast great weather, I think the numbers that attended far exceeded expectations. The public going to an event do, unfortunately, have to be patient.

“[The organisers] are fully aware it did cause some concerns and people have been stuck in cars a little bit longer in that temperature.”

Osland said there were several calls to police about the traffic on Saturday, but he was not aware of any impatient driver behaviour and it did not lead to any crashes.

Traffic eased for Sunday’s events, he said.

The weekend’s good weather had the mercury rising sharply.

Temperatures were more than 10 degrees Celsius up from those experienced during last year’s show, reaching 30C on Sunday.

This was one of the highest temperatures in the country, Met Service meteorologist Andy Best said.

Best said the weather would stay fine in Wairarapa and across eastern New Zealand for the next few days, with rain expected next weekend.

The nation received an early taste of summer due to an area of high pressure anchored over the Tasman Sea, but Best said sea temperatures remain much lower, at around 15C.

“If you’re toasting on the beach and you run into the sea, there might be a little bit of a shock for you. You could drop down a good 15 degrees.”

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