YEAR: 1985


Barry Johnson originally set out to work in the farming community. He was well on the way to completing his Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree at Lincoln College when a light purse forced him to quit the course and head into the city.

Now, after solid stints in banking and secretarial work, Mr Johnson has taken on a faster game - as promotions manager for the Metropolitan Trotting Club. One of the functions of this job is to arrange for the publicity of race meetings.

The strike by newspaper journalists last week, and mid-way through the New Zealand Cup carnival at Addington, dis not present Mr Johnson with the difficulties one may have thought. "We would have liked the newspapers with us, but we did a lot of radio advertising," he explained. "The two nights could have been better, but with Preux Chevalier and Roydon Glen, the Club was delighted with the meeting," he said.

Mr Johnson, 36, was born in Westport, where his parents had a grocery shop. When he was three, they moved to Christchurch after purchasing the Colombo Street grocery business of Leigh and Co. His schooling at West Spreydon Primary School and St Andrew's College led him to Lincoln College. "I just ran out of money when I was threequarters of the way through my degree. So I applied for five jobs, and got got them all. I started with the Bank of New Zealand, because they were the first to respond," he said.

Mr Johnson stayed with the bank for 10 years before taking the position as assistant secretary of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, secretary of the South Island Horticultural Trade Fair and secretary of the New Zealand Limousin Cattle Breeders' Society. Mr Johnson served these bodies for six years before joining the Met. "I've always wanted to work with horses. My father raced gallopers when I was a kid. He had Tulgar and Demijour and they both won three or four while Tommy Smith was training them," he said.

Right from his banking days, Mr Johnson has had strong links with trainers, jockeys, totalisator staff and most other aspects of the racing industry. "I've done most jobs at Addington over the years...paying drivers at country at country race meetings, jockey's fees at Riccarton...and I'm still doing in the tote and banking," he said.

The two important parts of his new position require Mr Johnson to set up meetings with sponsors and plan for the 1987 Inter-Dominion Championships at Addington. "I'm just finding my way at present," he said. There are a lot of little things I do that escape the eye. My biggest responsibility at present is planning for the Inter-Dominions and for this we are currently producing a video film on trotting in New Zealand to show next year in Brisbane," he said.

Married with two children, Mr Johnson relaxes at the races, in the garden, with a camera and serving on the committee of the Fendalton Primary School PTA.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in Star 26 Nov 1985

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