Lay of the land

About 30 judges scrutinised the plots at the 68th New Zealand 2023 Ploughing Championships in Milton last week. Shawn McAvinue asks some of the judges what appealed to them about the sport they volunteered their time to.

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Chris Doak, of Rakaia, agricultural contractor ... "I’ve been involved in ploughing for 30 odd years and it’s the people."

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Alan Wilson, of Wairarapa, bus driver ... "I love ploughing. I can remember going to my first ploughing match as a teenager and telling my father ‘I could do better than that’." 

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Colin Maw, of Methven, arable farmer ... "It’s a skill of farming — a skill which has been lost. Generations before us didn’t have herbicide so they had to plough."

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Greg Mulqueen, of Balfour, farmer ... "I was roped into it by my neighbour Richard Dillon about 20 years ago at the New Zealand finals in Balfour and I carried on. It was a mate helping a mate."

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Michael Robertson, of Tapanui, retired farming contractor ... "I used to plough and I’ve been judging for years. I enjoy it. You pay your own way and I go to the North Island to judge. The ploughing fraternity is great. Without the plough, New Zealand wouldn’t be where it is, feeding millions."

PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Richard Dillon, of Ardlussa near Balfour, farmer ... "The friendship is a lot of it. In my case, I’ve got a son (Mark Dillon in the conventional class) and grandson (Blain Dillon in the contemporary class) here ploughing. I’ve been judging since 2011, if you don’t have judges, you don’t have ploughing."