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John Fokerd - Central Region's new Councillor with a passion and a vision

Following the Annual General Meeting last week two new members were elected to the NZTBA Council – John Fokerd representing the Central Region and Vicki Pascoe the Northern Region.
John Fokerd - recently elected Central Region Councillor
Wellingtonian John Fokerd is a passionate racing and breeding enthusiast with a background in Chartered Accountancy. He didn't hesitate when approached by the Wellington Branch – he was their Honourary Auditor - to stand for council believing he could make a difference representing the Central region.

"I felt that with my business background, involvement in the industry, my passion for breeding and the desire to see the number of stud masters on the council reduced that I would accept the nomination," said Fokerd.

"Over the years the Council has played a strong role in the industry and some of the previous Councillors were captains of the industry and made a significant difference to thoroughbred breeding in New Zealand. I feel it is time for the Council to become more proactive again and make their voice heard. I would like to see a Council that satisfies the needs of its members – all its members small, medium and large.

"We need to create a body who can give the members what they want – a fair return and strong support for ongoing growth. I believe there is a need to concentrate on the issues of small to medium breeders.

"The Wellington area which I represent has weakened over the years and although we have a good membership base it is not exactly an active base. This is compounded a little by the reduction of studs and stallions in the lower region – but this is being addressed to a degree. There is potential for growth and we mustn't loose sight of the fact that Wellington still has a high net worth population that is being attracted to racing and ultimately it could be attracted into breeding.

"The syndication work done in this area by the likes of Andre Neil and Albert Bosma to attract the younger high net worth population into racing syndicates and back to the races, has to be applauded and no doubt a number of these syndicate members will take the next step and become involved in breeding either from the horses they have raced or by buying mares and taking advantage of the new tax legislation." he concluded.

When you view Fokerd's business and racing CV you wonder where he finds the time to be so passionate about racing and breeding. He is currently Vice President of the Wellington Racing Club, a member of the RACE Board, and a member of the Central Districts Cluster Board. For good measure he is also on the board of Toi Whakaari (New Zealand Drama School) and the immediate past chairman Ronald McDonald House, where he remains on the fundraising committee for a new House in Wellington. As well he still practices as a Chartered Accountant.

"When I started out my career in Accountancy one of my mentors told me that if you wanted a job done thoroughly then to ask a busy person, I have found that philosophy to be correct."

After 30 years with KPMG, 18 of those as a partner Fokerd decided it was time to leave the big practice and refine his clientele and focus on the more enjoyable things in life. During his time at KPMG he had a client base which included breeders, studs and trainers, and in the 1980's was involved in winding up a number of breeding partnerships at the same time adding to his own broodmare band.

"While I was at KPMG it was the horses that kept me sane. I first dabbled in ownership soon after I started work. They have been my recreation and relaxation, be it going to the races, planning matings, wandering around the paddock playing with foals, socialising with fellow breeders and racing enthusiasts. I just loved the contrast," he mused.

Fokerd currently owns or has shares in around eight broodmares. To date he has bred four black type horses, but is yet to race a black type winner although with around seven horses in work that dream could soon become a reality.

Along with Ron Dixon he bred Kapiston (Lake Koniston-Kapetoile) who won the Group One Ellerslie Sires Produce Stakes in 2001. They also bred Shira (Kilimanjaro) from Conistar a full sister to Kapiston, she was third in the Group Three Desert Gold Stakes at Wellington last year.

The half brothers Magic Paint (Spectacular Love) and War Paint (Al Akbar) are both out of the So Called mare Kolfinna that Fokerd shared in the ownership of as well. Magic Paint won the listed CJC Welcome Stakes before being sold to Singapore and War Paint the Whangarei Racing Club's listed Northland Breeders Stakes.

"I started out racing horses simply for the relaxation. I don't have a racing pedigree although my mother tells me when I was a teenager I was always keen to get the family to go to Trentham for the day. I have really relished the years I have been involved and I am really looking forward my time on the NZTBA Council."


- Michelle Saba