Fieldays’ brave new world – ‘Nation’ and beyond

Peter Nation
Peter Nation

Nothing can compare with the sights, sounds and overall experience of one of New Zealand’s premier rural events, but Fieldays Online certainly came close. As organisers have confirmed, this year’s edition proved quite the showcase of just how far virtual events have come.

“The analytics show great viewership and engagement with the explosion of international visitors and, locally, a much higher regional spread beyond the traditional event,” NZ National Fieldays Society CEO, Peter Nation, asserts.

Created in just under 108 days by in partnership with Auckland-based Satellite Media, and as New Zealand went into lockdown, the online platform saw Fieldays (effectively) exported worldwide, reaching 90,455 ‘attendees’ from more 75 countries.

“To build this platform in just over three months is astronomical,” Mr Nation says. “An event of this size and scope usually takes over a year with a large dedicated team. [The] Satellite team went over and above to help us deliver Fieldays Online and it really paid off.”

During the July event, viewers accessed content provided by 300 exhibitors as well as various competitions and exhibitions. And, it wasn’t just a case of younger views happy to engage with such new fangled technology with 40 percent of registered users aged 50 or older.

While the society hopes to return to its roots with a physical event next year, this year’s necessity is set to prove the mother of next year’s innovation; in 2021, Mr Nation expects, audiences both close to the event’s usual home (at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek Events Centre) and far afield will be able to benefit from the best of both worlds.

“This provides great opportunity for 2021 when we bring the two together,” he adds. “The success of this years’ event was a testament to the strong collaboration with our exhibitors and our relationships with industry leaders that got behind it despite not having a benchmark… Fieldays Online is an extension of what we can offer in future and it’s about keeping Fieldays alive.”