13 Jul 2020

Virtual Fieldays crashes after launching due visitors flocking to site

11:03 pm on 13 July 2020

The National Agricultural Fieldays that officially opened online at lunchtime on Monday hit a glitch in the opening ceremony.

Male farmer with laptop in field, closeup

Photo: 123RF

The event was officially opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Prince Charles, who beamed in from Clarence House in the UK.

New Zealand National Agricultural Feildays Society (NZNFS) president James Allan said it was exciting to finally launch the event but a rush of people signing in at noon crashed the system.

The agricultural event is normally held at Mystery Creek near Hamilton in June but because of Covid 19 it cancelled the live event and is instead running a two-week online Fieldays.

"It was a disappointing way to start but systems were back up again within two hours and we quietly confident everything will run smoothly from now on," Allen said.

Allen said people who were online before noon did get to see the opening addresses which included one from the Prince of Wales, who attended the Fieldays 50 years ago.

"There has been little negative response from exhibitors or those trying to visit the site," he said.

During the opening ceremony Allen said it was 90 days ago the society had to pivot to an online event.

"If the farmers can't come to the feildays, we will bring it to them."

Earlier NZNFS chief executive Peter Nation said going online allowed them to reach a global audience, and claimed it was a "a world first for any agricultural event".

The platform will host exhibitors' sites, a series of webinars, live video and sales.

Fieldays Online will remain open until 26 July.