The Auckland Flower Show
Auckland Flower Show 2008

After Ellerslie, the show must go on - Herald editorial, 24th November 2007

The good ratepayers of Christchurch will have to wait a while to see whether they get value for the money they have spent buying the Ellerslie Flower Show.

The city's new mayor, Bob Parker, told critics of the move that Aucklanders might be surprised to discover that there were New Zealanders who didn't live in Auckland. But he cut a slightly silly figure when, in the next breath, he said that "we have the Ellerslie brand and that's a proven brand".

It is nothing of the sort, of course. There is no reason to believe that the southern hemisphere's biggest outdoor garden show - which has not been held at Ellerslie for 10 years - would not prosper just as well under any other name. Mayor Parker's comment suggests that Christchurch is stuck with the name, which is a slightly embarrassing state of affairs: Aucklanders may not know as much as they ought to about the rest of New Zealand, but His Worship may be sure that no event in the City of Sails will be staged any time soon under the name Fendalton or Hoon Hay.

Parker may be much less sure that "the Ellerslie brand" will be worth the price - thought to be between $1 million and $2 million - that his city paid for it. Major exhibitors have already started saying that they will not be going, not just because of the cost of transporting their displays to the other end of the country, but also because a South Island-based show won't attract the crowds among which they might drum up business.

The Auckland City Council was right not to be bullied into spending public money on bidding for a show that - as finance committee chairman Doug Armstrong remarked - was not in jeopardy. Ellerslie attracted 70,000-odd visitors and is reported to generate around $14 million for the regional economy. But that is the private profit of commercial enterprise and Auckland should not spend extra public money on it.

The appetite for a great garden show that Ellerslie satisfied remains. Whatever event blooms will be just as bright as whatever happens in Hagley Park.

Editorial ends...

And of course the replacement event that has bloomed in its place is the Auckland Flower Show at the hugely superior venue at Alexandra Park in Epsom, Auckland and which has been developed into a first-class events and function centre over the last 100 years.

If you were one of the many thousands who attended the Auckland Flower Show 2008 then you will know what a great, world-class show that it was.

Indeed when one of our esteemed international judges from Australiae says that the Melbourne Flower Show could learn from us then we know that we have achieved the standard that we set out to achieve.

If you missed it then make sure that you click here to register so that you get all the early offers for next year.

Alternatively if you want to exhibit next year then please Click here to enter your details (and you will then be directed to the appropriate exhibitor's guide) or Email us.

Make sure that you register now, and check back regularly for updates!

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