Celebrating 30 years of the Sika Show rural news


New Zealand’s largest outdoor and hunting trade expo, the Sika Show, is celebrating its 30-year milestone this year

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The event has grown from its humble origins to become a diverse and exciting gathering, attracting a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.

Since 1993, the show has been held annually in Tāupo, until last year, under new ownership, the show moved to Mystery Creek Event Centre in Hamilton to accommodate the growing number of visitors.

What started off three decades ago as a small, organised gathering of passionate Sika hunters, who held a local competition for the best Sika heads taken that year, has grown exponentially, with more than 165 exhibitors and just under 10,000 attendees last year. This year show organisers are hoping to see a two-fold increase in the number of visitors.

At the heart of the Sika Show lies an all-encompassing experience that captivates outdoor enthusiasts. Attendees can expect top-notch outdoor apparel, a vast array of hunting, camping, and outdoor essential gear for the wilderness, and 4x4 and offroad products from reputable ute brands.

For those with a culinary flair, there are butchery and game food cooking demos, spice rubs, sauces, cookers, smokers, and biltong makers. Art enthusiasts can indulge in hunting and backcountry-style artwork, while thrill-seekers can explore adventure tourism operators and guided hunt/dive trip outfitters. The show also boasts an extensive line-up of exhibitors that offer a diverse range of products, including hunt and backcountry-styled jewellery, boutique-style liquor vendors, and, of course, a food truck collective.

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It’s more than just a trade show. The show serves as a focal point for various conservation and game animal foundations and organisations, promoting wildlife preservation and responsible hunting practices.

Central to the Sika Show’s appeal is its popular annual hunting competition, showcasing every species of game animal in New Zealand. This year also sees the newly appointed Duke of Bedford Tahr Trophy Award, plus for younger visitors there are colouring competitions, native bird and predator hunts, and face painting.

This year’s Sika Show commemorates three decades of exceptional outdoor camaraderie. To mark the occasion, $50,000 worth of prizes await participants in the hunting competition, with individual prizes valued at around $4500.

Show legacy

The Sika Show’s legacy extends beyond a mere hunting and outdoor trade show; it symbolises the essence of everything hunting, conservation, and outdoors that New Zealand has to offer. The show’s allure lies in its multifaceted appeal. It stands as a platform for the community to come together to celebrate and support New Zealand’s game animals while also fundraising for national game organisations and hunter-based conservation groups. It also aims at providing education and a positive and buoyant marketplace for niche brands and its audience.

Sika Foundation

Finally (and importantly), the Sika Show supports the Central North Island Sika Foundation that spearheads impactful initiatives, such as the
hunter-donated venison food bank project and the Whio Blue Duck recovery trapping project.

The foundation actively helps to manage the central North Island Sika, striking a balance between the interests of hunters and the preservation of the forests that serve as Sika’s habitat. More than 6000 hours of volunteer dedication fuel various conservation endeavours, from management hunting to maintaining hut and track throughout the Kaimanawa Forest Park and trap servicing in the Oamaru, Kaipo, Cascade, and Hinemaiaia River catchments with 45km of trap line currently in place to protect whio (blue duck) and their breeding habitat.

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The foundation’s efforts extend beyond the wilderness. More than 4500kg of organic hunter donated venison meat has been supplied to food banks in Turangi, Tāupo, Te Kuiti, and Te Awamutu to date. The initiative started in 2020 when the Turangi Foodbank received venison mince following the culling of Wapiti/red deer in Fiordland and, today, has resulted in an ongoing mission to provide free-range venison mince to families in Turangi and Tāupo that are struggling to make ends meet.

The Sika Show takes place on 28 and 29 October 2023 at Mystery Creek Events Centre. A complete exhibitor list, head competition entry form and rules, and ticket information can be found at sikashow.co.nz.

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