Agrodome History

From World Fair to World Famous

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In 1970, world champion sheep shearer Godfrey Bowen was asked to produce a show to represent New Zealand at the World Expo in Osaka, Japan. The ‘Sheep Show’ was such a hit that Godfrey - together with his friend and fellow farmer George Harford – decided to create a permanent home for it. The Agrodome opened its doors to tourists and Kiwis alike in 1971.

Godfrey and George were ultimately both awarded MBEs from the Queen for outstanding service and achievement. Over the years, the show has been delivered by some of New Zealand’s very best sheep shearers. Like Ivan Bowen, 5 times New Zealand champion!

The Agrodome became so well loved that another show, a cattle show, was created on a site by Queenstown’s beautiful Shotover River. It ran for almost 20 years. In 1980, a devastating fire completely destroyed the first Agrodome building. But in true Kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ style, while the building was still smouldering, Ivan Bowen said, “the show must go on” and performed his famous sheep show on a hillside, to an audience of over 100!

In 1983, Warren Harford and Paul Bowen, the sons of the original founders of the Agrodome, joined the Agrodome team and started the second generation of this family business.

The Agrodome’s famous show has been so enjoyed over the years that we have been invited to perform in many countries and at many significant international events. The Agrodome team even helped the Mother Farm Group establish a similar show in Tokyo, Japan!

The Agrodome has won the coveted New Zealand Tourism Award for the New Zealand's Best Visitor Attraction a number of times, and we have been awarded more than once for our outstanding service and contribution to the New Zealand Tourism Industry. The Agrodome is not just a fun visitor attraction; it is also a real 350-acre (160-hectare) working sheep and cattle farm with 1200 sheep and 120 beef cattle.

Agrodome has been one of New Zealand’s best-loved visitor attractions for over 40 years. Visit us soon to discover it for yourself.