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The story of Ambury Farm Day

Published: 2 October 2015

Ambury Farm Day is aimed at families and children under 14 who live in the Auckland region.

Over the years the event has diversified from the pure farming theme to broaden its appeal. It now includes kite flying, wood chopping, bouncy castles and other fun activities. A temporary stage is set up for a variety of live entertainment, including cultural groups and ‘Farm Idol’.

In 2015, Ambury Farm Day took place at Ambury Regional Park on Sunday 4 October.

Although the farm day attracts people from across the region, those who attend come mostly from surrounding urban areas including Mangere, Onehunga, Manukau and Royal Oak.

Entry and parking is free, along with most of the 30-plus activities. Food and drink can be bought and a few activities have a minimal charge – bullock rides, pony rides (for pony club fundraising), bouncy castles and the vintage tractor rides. Auckland Council funds all other activities.

Mangere Bridge community groups, such as scouts, girl guides, Plunket and kindergarten, are offered the opportunity to fundraise at the event by providing refreshments and raffles. Ambury Regional Park staff like to show community support by sourcing all their food for the day from local retailers.

Why do we hold this event?

  • This free family day is about making farming and outdoor recreation accessible to all Aucklanders – it’s a fun community event, which connects city people with country life.
  • Farm Day is an extension of a wider programme at Ambury Regional Park, which connects more than 7500 children New Zealand’s farming heritage each year.

The growth of Ambury Farm Day

  • The first Ambury Farm Day was held in spring 1988 and about 200 people attended
  • By the early 1990s attendance had hit 5000 and by 1998 this had almost tripled
  • It is the single biggest event (funded and run by the council) on regional parks. In 2009, the fine weather drew a whopping 35,000 people
  • As the event grows, the management, planning and logistics become more complicated. It takes more than 200 committed volunteers (many of them council staff) to help make the event work
  • Some of Ambury Regional Park’s significant growth in visitors can be attributed to the exposure generated by Ambury Farm Day.

About Ambury Regional Park

  • Ambury Regional Park is nestled on the shores of the Manukau Harbour, under the shade of Mangere Mountain
  • The 124ha park is 15km or 20 minutes drive from downtown Auckland (just off the airport motorway)
  • It takes its name from the Ambury Milk Company, which ran a town milk supply farm there from 1893 to 1965
  • A working farm, it is home to sheep, goats, pigs, cows, pet lambs (in spring), chickens, turkeys, rabbits and peacocks
  • Education programmes give thousands of Auckland schoolchildren a taste of a working farm and its animals every year. Children participate in hand-milking, spinning wool and butter making, and see sheep shearing
  • Ambury Park Centre for Riding Therapy and Mangere Pony Club operate from the park

Things to do at Ambury

  • Picnicking, camping, walking, mountain biking, barbeques and visiting the animals. You can experience cow milking and lamb feeding at appropriate times of the year
  • Bird watchers can look out for godwits, knots, pied oystercatchers and wrybills. Pied, black and little shags, and white-faced herons are also common.