The Big T and I visited the Helensville A&P (Agricultural & Pastoral) Show at the weekend.
Agriculture is a hugely important part of New Zealand’s history, economy and psyche, and A&P Shows are a traditional way small towns up and down the country celebrate farming and rural life.
One of my favourite A&P attractions is wood-chopping. And no, I can’t explain why a city girl who has never used an axe to do much more than chop kindling can sit for hours and watch a bunch of men cut through logs of wood as a sport. But I can!
I think part of the attraction is simplicity. While rugby, soccer, etc all seem to have incredibly complex rules, wood-chopping is easy to understand. The first person to cut the block in two wins. Even allowing for the handicap system (a man with a microphone counting off the seconds before each competitor can start), it’s comprehensible even to me. And no offside rule!
Axemen may not be regarded as sports superstars, but they seem equally dedicated to their sport. And the disappointment they feel in failure is no less real or painful to watch.
“All that is in the heart is written on the face” — Ritu Ghatourey