Auckland's Royal Easter show feels effects of Cyclone Cook

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Auckland's popular Royal Easter show are feeling the effects of Cyclone Cook with a drop in numbers this year.  Although organisers expect a total of more than 100,000, they needed to close early on opening day as a safety precaution.

Sporadic rain hasn't deterred festival goers both young and old from around the country.

Aucklanders braced themselves for Cyclone Cook last Thursday, including organisers of this year’s 174th annual event.

Stall holder, Davy-boy Mani says, “It's sort of quiet this festival, perhaps because of the expected rain.”

Royal Easter Show CEO, Mark Frankham says, “We didn't have a lot of people on Thursday, so we were quite lucky.  We had probably only about two and a half thousand people on the ground, compared to Good Friday when we had about 40, 000 so I'm very pleased that it's gone.”

Since 2014 the Royal Easter show has been entry free, which has enticed many newcomers seeking to enjoy the 174 rides and freebies.

Jeff Ruha (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Porou) says, “We had planned to return home but, Cyclone Cook came and we stayed home, (the family) are in Gisborne, but we're all fine now.

Frankham says, “It's been really successful.  So people walk around freely we have a lot of family orientated activities here, a lot of them are free. Some of them you do pay for the rides and the games and some of the ice-skating.  But we've also got tradespace, we've got the big farmworld and sheep sharing. So there's plenty going on that's all free.  You don't pay to go to any of that. We've got strongman competitions.”

While quality family time is the focus for many, Anglican Priest Tony Brooking says the holiday's spiritual significance isn't forgotten.

Tony Brooking says, “There are families who are seeking the spiritual aspects.  Now we are seeing some of our families coming back to church.

Thrill seekers have one more day to enjoy what's on offer with the festival closing tomorrow evening.