Monday, November 22, 2010

The National Racing Museum

Racing horses for sport in our country has had a long tradition. I'm not sure when the first races were held. Maori people really enjoyed the sport too.

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.


  1. That's concerning. I know that the NZ Thoroughbred Bredders Association are based there. Carbine's head was sent to the National Racing Museum from the Auckland Museum. As I recall the skin of Carbine graces the chair of the President of the Auckland Racing Club. I wondered if it was still going. It would be a shame to lose it to Wellington but if things can be kept safe so be it.

  2. I don't mind where its housed in New Zealand. It's currently in Auckland, but sadly, Auckland doesn't really focus on our shared history so I guess it will go south.

  3. True when I read what had happened to the Museum it saddened me greatly. I just hope th head of Carbine hasn't ended up amongst those items it was always in the Auckland Museum until it was sent to the National Racing Museum for display as it seemed appropriate. I did a quick search short of consulting 'Proud Silk' I found advertisements from 1848 for Auckland Races to celebrate the Colony. Thanks for bringing this to everyone's awareness. Sad there seems to an unwillingness by the ARC and NZTRB to do anything. I hope something can be done to save a valuable part of our heritage

  4. If you can think of anything or anybody who could help, let me know. At least the collection was professionally worked on by a qualified archivist before it was moved. Mr Cooper has the lists. But I suppose things could have gone walkabout.

  5. I'm working on that now Lyn will be in touch as soon as I hear anything


  6. Lynn three years on and finally I have some news. The relics of Carbine the racehorse have been finally returned to Auckland Museum. I've been advised today that Carbine is currently in the hands of the conservators. He's in less that ideal condition but he will be restored back to as best as a condition as he can be. Poor old Carbine wasn't all that well looked after.