Over the years, New Zealand has developed one of the best reputations for blood-lines and have bred many international winners. The ordinary folk like my parents who were brought up on horses to use as transport carried on to become race betters on a small scale and the Saturday races were a highlight.
Behind the scenes was big money breeding and training these horses and it seemed that every town had its racecourse and local enthusiasts.
Being such a big part of life in New Zealand you might think that the racing industry would have its own museum. It did have one at the Ellerslie Race Course up until 2003. It was run by enthusiastic volunteers with no real training and it became a central repository for regalia and records. But sadly, the building it occupied was condemned and the contents were stored in a very bad manner. This was soon rectified by a well-known business woman who moved the contents into a warehouse and a container.
To cut a long story short; the NZ Thoroughbred Racing Board of whom Simon Cooper is currently head of, has the ownership of the treasure but doesn't seem to be doing anything with it. The Auckland Racing Club it still looking after part of the contents but again, doesn't seem very enthusiastic about it.
I've alerted Te Papa and some local business people to the situation and I sincerely hope that this important collection can be suitably housed and made accessible to the public again.