History of NZTA

The first ever Executive Committee Meeting of the NZTA on record, was held on Friday January 16 1975 at Trentham Racecourse.

In attendance were:
JW Harris (president elect), P Lush (acting secretary), DJ O’Sullivan, BAV Preston, MK Smith, FC Pratt, RB Taggart, BT Jones, EP Corboy, CS Reese-Jones (elected Vice President), MR Skerrett and BJ Anderton.

Apologies were received from RJ Wallace, K Quayle and GK Sanders.

The national body was formed as a gathering of representatives from four district bodies – Norhern, Central, Canterbury and Southern.

Discussion at this meeting included:
Trainers’ licence fees, trainers’ percentage, stipendiary control, representation at Authority level, bell boots, tongue straps, training facilities, nomination times, half-yearly programmes and catering.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT – to Executive Committee, Hamilton 20-5-1976


I think it is clear to all of us that we have succeeded in establishing an association which can do a great deal for trainers in the years ahead. It has already achieved quite a bit of progress at provincial level. But the thing which I consider most important is that we have been able to gain the membership and support of trainers in every part of New Zealand. For the first time ever, we have a National Association of trainers, bound together by common interests and aims. There is no limit to the benefits and prestige this body can bring us all. What we must do is ensure that our Association carries on strongly. If we lose it now, we may never be able to establish it again.

I can see three things which must be done to safeguard the future of the Trainers’ Association and a breakdown in any one of these areas could prejudice our future.

  1. We must do all we can to maintain the interest of members. We cannot afford to sit back and expect the association to run itself. This is the direct responsibility of this executive and every branch committee. We have to keep moving and keep the confidence of our members. We have to listen to everybody’s problems and views. And we have to keep our own members informed of what we are doing. The next year may be our hardest year and it is up to us all to keep things moving.

  2. We have the respect and support of other sections of racing. We must make sure that we keep that support. Progress should be easy while we have the clubs and conference right behind us. At present everybody is keen to listen to us and do whatever is possible to meet our requests. But it wouldn’t be so easy if we let ourselves drift to the outer. We have to maintain respect. We have to be level headed and reasonable. We can’t set out to change the world in five minutes and we can’t expect to have our own way in everything. I think it is important at this stage that we keep winning. If we make sure that all our aims and requests are reasonable and workable, we will win the respect that can help us so much in more important things later on.

  3. We must budget for enough money to operate properly. We have to pay our way. We need the best secretaries we can get for our branches and executive. We can’t expect to keep them unless they are adequately paid. We need our newsletter because that is the best way to keep our members up to date with what is going on. It costs money. But I would like to see it grow into something bigger and better. We cannot expect those who work for the Association to travel all over the country at their own expense. We have to provide money for travelling subsidies, for it is essential that we maintain these meetings of all districts. This is a New Zealand association. That is its strength. You can’t do much when you are under capitalised, so let’s not try to run this organisation on a shoe string.

The good news is that we are on the way and we haven’t put a foot wrong yet. We have a good team running things and I believe that, if we keep on the move, we can’t do anything but succeed.

- JW Harris