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The history of thoroughbred breeding in New Zealand goes back to the middle of the nineteenth century when people such as Henry Redwood, "father of the New Zealand turf", bred, raced and imported thoroughbreds and began the proud Kiwi tradition of raiding Australia's major races.

The first National Yearling Sale was held in January 1927 and the first meeting of people interested in forming a breeders' association took place in January 1948. At that time a provisional Council was set up consisting of several of the country's leading breeders: Messrs Ken Austin (Chairman), Bob Stead, J.G. Alexander, James Fletcher, J. Donald, Jack Higgs, Charles Robertson and Alister Williams. This committee then set about contacting people likely to be interested in forming an association of breeders. The response to their canvassing efforts was remarkable, with responses from almost 500 people.

The first general meeting of the NZTBA was held in Wellington on 16 March 1948 and a full-time secretary, Mr L.R. James of Wellington was appointed, beginning work on October 1st 1948. The first annual meeting of the NZTBA was held on 25 January 1949 in Wellington. Mr Ken Austin presided over the meeting and gave a comprehensive description of the purpose of the Association. His words still guide the NZTBA's activities today: ' to encourage, promote, advance generally and ensure co-operative efforts in all matters pertaining to the production and improvement of the Thoroughbred and the interests of Thoroughbred breeders.'

By 31 July 1949 the Association had 460 financial members and 140 applications for membership. The annual subscription was two guineas.

On 8 February 1998 the NZTBA celebrated its 50th birthday with a memorable luncheon at Patrick and Justine Hogan's Cambridge Stud.

The current annual subscription is $NZ225.00 and the Association's membership stands at approximately 1200, spread among eight regional branches, the Studmaster branch and overseas members.

WATCH: NZ Racing Hall of Fame's Henry Redwood video.
WATCH: NZ Racing Hall of Fame's video on Seton Otway.
WATCH: NZ Racing Hall of Fame's video on Sir Tristram.

Many more fantastic NZ Racing Hall of Fame videos can be found at


Successful representation with Ministers and government agencies on key industry issues including totalisator duty, bloodstock depreciation and ACC levies

Industry education & training initiatives:

  • New Zealand Equine Training Scheme - established and supported by the NZTBA Waikato branch

  • International Management Scholarship - sponsored since 2002 by the NZTBA Auckland branch

  • Overseas Training Scholarships - sponsored since 1991 by the NZTBA Wellington branch and the K.I.A. Taylor Charitable Trust.

National breeding awards:

  • Broodmare of the Year (since 1953)

  • Dewar Stallion Trophy (since 1965) - champion New Zealand-based sire by combined Australasian earnings

  • Grosvenor Award (since 1991) - champion New Zealand sire by domestic earnings

  • Centaine Award (since 2009) - champion New Zealand sire by international earnings

  • Broodmare Sire (since 2002) - champion New Zealand sire of broodmares

  • Breeder of the Year (since 1991)

  • Small Breeder of the Year (since 2021)

Regional awards & events:

  • Annual Breeding Awards & Stallion Expo at Karaka - NZTBA Auckland branch

  • Annual Group One Dinner & Weekend Stud Tour - NZTBA Waikato Branch

  • Annual Awards Dinners, Foal Walks, Stud Tours, Yearling Parades & other special events organised by the Hawke's Bay, Taranaki/Wanaganui, Central Districts, Wellington, Otago & Southland branches

Recognition of NZTBA service and achievement:


J.C. (John) Aubrey, Waikato

D.G.R. (David) Benjamin, Waikato

T.J. (Tom) Burn, Wellington

D.G. (Darryl) Burrow, Wellington

P.W. (Peter) Hutt, Timaru

T.R. (Tom) Lowry, Hawke's Bay

Mrs O.M. (Onawe) Miller, Southland

M.J. (Mark) Wilson, Auckland

D.A. (David) Winn, Auckland

M.J. (Michael) Martin, Otago


Ken Austin 1949-50

Tom Lowry Snr 1951-65

Alister Williams 1966-68

Wal Ormond 1969-78

Gordon Mitchell 1979-82

Bob Nurse 1983-84

Ted Howarth 1985-88

Ross Finlayson 1989-92

Patrick Hogan 1993-96

Arthur Ormond 1997-2000

John Aubrey 2001-02

Peter Hutt 2002-05

Peter Francis 2005-2013

John Fokerd 2013 - 2018

John Thompson 2018 -


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