Bringing town and country together

SHOW TIME: General manager of the Poverty Bay A and P Association, Erica McNeil, at this year’s Show. Picture by Paul Rickard

The Gisborne Herald talks to Erica McNeil, general manager of the Poverty Bay A and P Association, about the future of an iconic Gisborne event and running a successful non-profit organisation . . .

With a background and experience in sales, financials and customer services, Gisborne woman Erica McNeil was the perfect fit for the job as general manager of the Poverty Bay A and P Association.

She grew up on the family farm in the Waimata Valley and is the youngest of three girls.

Their father, the late Kim Broad was involved for many years on the A and P Association committee when the girls were younger, so Erica has fond memories of the A and P Show.

She left school in 1987 and completed a secretarial course, at what was then the Tairawhiti Polytechnic.

Her first job was in Gisborne with National Insurance as the receptionist.

In 1989 she headed to Wellington where she worked for National Bank in their treasury division reconciling the New Zealand dollar account.

“This was a great job as I enjoy working with figures and met a lot of wonderful people.”

In 1992 she headed home and started with PGG Wrightson as a customer service officer — meeting and working with the rural community.

On returning to Gisborne she met Simon McNeil and they were married in 1997.

In 1998, Erica was keen to get into sales so started at Ray White Real Estate with James MacPherson and Ross Chalmers.

She moved to the Bayleys Franchise with James and Ross and became their office manager.

After the birth of their first child Ben, Erica started working part-time and second son Matthew joined the family 19 months later.

When the boys were older she completed her real estate papers and returned to Bayleys as a residential salesperson.

In 2007 Simon and Erica purchased the HRV Franchise in Gisborne.
“Being part of a highly motivated sales company came with exceptional training which was invaluable and something we are both using in our current roles.”

In 2013, she was approached by her cousin Michael Broad, who is a current A and P committee member, to help in the A and P office with financials for 10 - 15 hours a week. With her previous sales experience and excellent time management skills, she was then asked to take over as general manager when Derek Allan retired at the end of 2014.

“My role for the A and P Show covers sponsorship, exhibitors, overseeing all of the compliance, ensuring each section head is organised and supported, making sure all the systems are in place and being the overall show manager on the day.

“I have the support of four paid staff members, the president and both executive and general committee members who are all volunteers.

“Without them the show wouldn’t be the success it is.”

Erica spends about seven or eight months working on the show, but the rest of the year is busy too with a variety of events either in the Farmers Air Event Centre, equestrian events on the grounds or wedding and Christmas parties in the old cattle pavilions.

“Showgrounds Park Campground is very busy with an average of 50 permanent residents and for part of the year we house RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employers) workers employed by Leaderbrand and Coxco.

“During the summer months we have a steady amount of casual campers onsite and also accommodate an extra 320 during the R & V festival for three to four days.”

Some are predicting the decline of A and P shows around the country, but Erica is confident the Gisborne show is in good health.

“It has been steady over the years I’ve been involved and it is one of the best A and P shows in New Zealand,” she said.

“A lot of the Gisborne people want to give back to the community and this is a way they can showcase what they do.

“Every year I am overwhelmed by the support from the Gisborne community and am already thinking about the 2019 Show.”
It is her job to secure new sponsors and keep the existing ones happy. This involves visiting them individually and building good relationships.

“That’s my expertise and what I enjoy,” she says. “They can see we’re producing a good event and they want to be part of it.”

The Gisborne Herald talks to Erica McNeil, general manager of the Poverty Bay A and P Association, about the future of an iconic Gisborne event and running a successful non-profit organisation . . .

With a background and experience in sales, financials and customer services, Gisborne woman Erica McNeil was the perfect fit for the job as general manager of the Poverty Bay A and P Association.

She grew up on the family farm in the Waimata Valley and is the youngest of three girls.

Their father, the late Kim Broad was involved for many years on the A and P Association committee when the girls were younger, so Erica has fond memories of the A and P Show.

She left school in 1987 and completed a secretarial course, at what was then the Tairawhiti Polytechnic.

Her first job was in Gisborne with National Insurance as the receptionist.

In 1989 she headed to Wellington where she worked for National Bank in their treasury division reconciling the New Zealand dollar account.

“This was a great job as I enjoy working with figures and met a lot of wonderful people.”

In 1992 she headed home and started with PGG Wrightson as a customer service officer — meeting and working with the rural community.

On returning to Gisborne she met Simon McNeil and they were married in 1997.

In 1998, Erica was keen to get into sales so started at Ray White Real Estate with James MacPherson and Ross Chalmers.

She moved to the Bayleys Franchise with James and Ross and became their office manager.

After the birth of their first child Ben, Erica started working part-time and second son Matthew joined the family 19 months later.

When the boys were older she completed her real estate papers and returned to Bayleys as a residential salesperson.

In 2007 Simon and Erica purchased the HRV Franchise in Gisborne.
“Being part of a highly motivated sales company came with exceptional training which was invaluable and something we are both using in our current roles.”

In 2013, she was approached by her cousin Michael Broad, who is a current A and P committee member, to help in the A and P office with financials for 10 - 15 hours a week. With her previous sales experience and excellent time management skills, she was then asked to take over as general manager when Derek Allan retired at the end of 2014.

“My role for the A and P Show covers sponsorship, exhibitors, overseeing all of the compliance, ensuring each section head is organised and supported, making sure all the systems are in place and being the overall show manager on the day.

“I have the support of four paid staff members, the president and both executive and general committee members who are all volunteers.

“Without them the show wouldn’t be the success it is.”

Erica spends about seven or eight months working on the show, but the rest of the year is busy too with a variety of events either in the Farmers Air Event Centre, equestrian events on the grounds or wedding and Christmas parties in the old cattle pavilions.

“Showgrounds Park Campground is very busy with an average of 50 permanent residents and for part of the year we house RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employers) workers employed by Leaderbrand and Coxco.

“During the summer months we have a steady amount of casual campers onsite and also accommodate an extra 320 during the R & V festival for three to four days.”

Some are predicting the decline of A and P shows around the country, but Erica is confident the Gisborne show is in good health.

“It has been steady over the years I’ve been involved and it is one of the best A and P shows in New Zealand,” she said.

“A lot of the Gisborne people want to give back to the community and this is a way they can showcase what they do.

“Every year I am overwhelmed by the support from the Gisborne community and am already thinking about the 2019 Show.”
It is her job to secure new sponsors and keep the existing ones happy. This involves visiting them individually and building good relationships.

“That’s my expertise and what I enjoy,” she says. “They can see we’re producing a good event and they want to be part of it.”

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