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Land granted for Thoroughbred Racing Museum

Wendy Pye, chair of the NZ Racing Museum committee

Wendy Pye, chair of the NZ Racing Museum committee
Plans for a new purpose-built museum to house New Zealand thoroughbred racing's past and present treasures took an important step towards fruition yesterday. Agreement was given by the Auckland Racing Club Board to grant land at Ellerslie Racecourse for the proposed building which will include the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

The Chairperson of the Museum Committee, Wendy Pye, is delighted that the ARC Board shares her vision for the museum which will be built on land valued at $710,000.

The Museum will become a major tourist attraction for visitors to Auckland from around New Zealand and overseas. It will also have a working relationship with Champions, the new racing museum in Melbourne, Victoria. The world circuit of racing museums includes Newmarket in England, Kentucky in the USA, and the Japanese and Dubai museums. Wendy and Don Pye were guests of the Victorian Racing Museum Committee and attended the opening of Champions last week in Melbourne.

Now that the land has been made available, a committee can be established, a new trust deed drawn up and a full business plan written, along with fundraising projects. Wendy and Don Pye, through the Pye Foundation, have funded a building sketch and overall floorplan design with one of New Zealand's leading museum designers.

"This gets the project started and allows a business and financial plan to be developed," says Wendy.

A team of historians headed by John Costello, Pat Finnegan and Pat Millen are working to develop the key database requirements for the new museum software which will allow the establishment of a world-class archive.

As well as housing the history of thoroughbred racing and breeding, the Museum will:

*offer educational courses for high-school students

*promote a wider understanding of racing by featuring both North and South Island displays of excellence

*feature What's On in Racing for the month

*a coffee shop for visitors

*a wide range of souvenirs

*interactive features, together with an extensive library containing print and photographs.

The vision for the Museum is to celebrate New Zealand's success in breeding, racing and winning, and to become part of New Zealand's rapidly diversifying tourist industry.

Wendy Pye, also a member of the Boards of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and Investment New Zealand, looks forward to discussing the proposed Museum with many people not currently involved racing.

Wendy says "We now need to do what Victoria has done – see the Thoroughbred Racing Museum as an important venue to visit in Auckland."

"And it must be part of a wider plan to make this exciting industry that we all enjoy part of the hearts and minds of the community."

Wendy will present the Museum plan on Friday 9 July 2004 at the Annual Meeting of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and on Monday 12 July 2004 to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.


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