The first Agricultural and Pastoral Show in Christchurch was held in a paddock north of Latimer Square on 22 October 1862. The Canterbury A&P Association was formed a few weeks later on 23 January 1863, with Robert Wilkin as its first president. In April 1863, the A&P Association purchased 14 acres in Colombo Street South for show grounds; this is now Sydenham Park. In November 1887, new show grounds opened in Addington.
The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, established in 1863, is an association under the Agricultural and Pastoral Societies Act 1908. The Association hosts an yearly Agricultural and Pastoral Show which has grown over the years to become the largest A&P Show in New Zealand.
Following the establishment of official European settlement by the Canterbury Association in 1850 the province set about establishing itself on a rural economy and thus from its earliest European inception an interest in annually displaying the fruits of the horticultural and agricultural abilities of the area. Shows were an important part of the rural culture of England and the tradition quickly became a part of early settlement.
The earliest record of any such 'show' is 16 December 1852 in Hagley Park. In May 1853 an essentially horticultural display was held at the White Hart Hotel and a show of livestock held in the Market Place (Victoria Square) . In May 1854 a similar show including wool and grain samples was held at the Golden Fleece Hotel. Similar shows continued on through the 1850s with the formation of the Canterbury Farmers' Club in 1858.