Show secretary calls time after 20 years

Out-going North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association secretary Barbara Watt (rear) at her last show on Saturday with replacement Diana Gokalp. Photo by David Bruce.
Out-going North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association secretary Barbara Watt (rear) at her last show on Saturday with replacement Diana Gokalp. Photo by David Bruce.
It was a show-stopper for Barbara Watt in Oamaru on Saturday.

After 20 years as North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association secretary, she chose the landmark 150th show this year as her last.

''You get 16 years for murder - and time off for good behaviour,'' she quipped about her 20 years organising shows.

Mrs Watt, no stranger to shows both as an exhibitor and through her father Arthur Mann, who was on committees, president, treasurer and a long-time supporter, applied for the job after former secretary Noeline Darling stepped down.

She was not sure what the job entailed, was appointed from April 1993 and ran her first show without a hitch in November that year.

''I was green and didn't know what it entailed. The second show was the most scary one, because I then knew what was involved,'' she said.

''I still get butterflies and worry whether it is going to come off.''

The job is two days a week, for most of the year. But from mid-January it is ''24 hours a day, also most Saturdays and Sundays and very little sleep'', she said.

Mrs Watt deliberately chose the 150th show as her last, which also coincided with reaching the retirement age of 65 years this year.

She plans to get more involved in her crafts, particularly felting and spinning, and pursue her love of floral art with a trip to the Ellersie flower show. She will also continue as a show exhibitor, maintaining an involvement since she was about 6 years old.