YEAR: 1881

PHINEAS SELIG - Administrator

Members of the Jewish community featured strongly in trotting's early days when Phineas Selig, along with Charles Louisson were standout performers though rivalled by Victor Harris the first president of the Met and a brother-in-law of Charles Louisson. Later was to come more Louissons and Dr Pezaro. Both Selig and Louisson were distinguished men outside of racing and gave it standing in the community just it needed it most.

Selig came back from Australia in 1881 and formed the first sporting paper in this country the famous New Zealand Referee in 1884 with journalist Arthur Bird. 10 years later he sold this racing bible to The Press Company but became that firm's general manager.

A strong backer of trotting (and athletics; he founded the Secondary School Sports in Christchurch) he founded and headed the New Zealand Trotting Association, which ran the practical side of racing, and then was president of the Trotting Conference(HRNZ) for 13 years.

Selig's impeccable business reputation and enthusiasm for trotting was a potent mixture when his liking for administration was added. An odd little man on first acquaintance he had the cheerfulness of the racing optimist that others were happy to follow.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Aug 2016


YEAR: 1950


When in August the NZ Trotting Association is finally absorbed by the NZ Trotting Conference, it will have completed 50 years of service to the sport.

The late Mr C S Howell, an early administrator of trotting, worked with the late Mr A I Rattray and others toward the amalgamation of the North Island and South Island Trotting Associations, and thus, in 1899, came into being the NZ Trotting Association. Mr Howell also became chairman of the first NZ Trotting Conference.

Mr Rattray, who was largely responsible for the formation of the NZ Trotting Association, is still regarded by the people who knew him over a long period of years as the "father of trotting". He left behind him a record of service that time will not obliterate. Trotting will always be in the debt of this fine old pioneer, who, incidentally, was the first secretary of the NZ Trotting Conference.

The late Mr Phineas Selig, who was president of the Association from its inception until his retirement in 1925, was responsible for many reforms. Perhaps his outstanding contribution to the light-harness fabric was the fathering of the rule makng it obligatory for all clubs to include two events for trotters on an eight-race programme.

First elected to the board in 1916, the late Mr J H Williams became chairman in 1925 and remained in that position for 14 years, until shortly before his death. He was held in the highest regard by his colleagues and all who came in contact with him and he made a notable contribution to the administrative side of the sport.

The late Mr H W Kitchingham was a member of the board of the NZ Trotting Association for the record period of 35 years and was chairman from 1939 to 1945. He was primarily responsible in 1938 for a revised edition of the Rules of Trotting.

President of the Association from 1945 to 1947, the late Mr R B McCarthy, of Hawera, joined the board in 1943 and retired, through ill health, in 1947. A leading figure in the legal profession in Hawera, he was an outstanding member of the board, and earned respect throughout the Dominion for his impartiality and sound administrative qualities.

Mr J B Thomson, who succeeded Mr McCarthy as president, was a member of the board for 23 years. Mr Thomson has a profound knowledge of horses and the men who drive them. He has a keen sense of proportion and a lively sense of humour, attributes that have endeared him to all sections of trotting over a lengthy period.

Sir John McKenzie, treasurer to the NZ Trotting Association over a lengthy period, is offering himself for election as treasurer to the NZ Trotting Conference. Sir John was also chairman of the Licensing Committee for a number of years, and altogether served 25 years on the board.

Mr H F Nicoll, later to become president of the NZ Trotting Conference, a position he held with ever-mounting distinction for a quarter of a century, was a member of the board for a term.

The late Mr W Hayward, a vice-president for many years, the late Mr H C Harley, the late Mr S W Kelly and Mr J M Samson, were other members of the board of the last two decades who served for long periods.

Mr E A Lee, now a Stipendiary Magistrate, was a member of the Association from 1943 to 1948, and there was genuine regret among trotting people when his services as an administrator were lost. He was obviously marked out for high office in the trotting world.

With trotting in Auckland will always be associated the name of the late Mr C F Mark, who was a member of the board for many years. He was one of the dominating personalities of his day, and Sir John McKenzie remembers Mr Mark as one of the most able men on the board at the time he (Sir John) was first elected to it.

The late Mr R A Armstrong, of Wellington, although he did not take high office on the board, is remembered as a man of gifted oratory and sound judgement. He was recognised as a born organiser and he was actuated by a genuine desire to see trotting prosper.

Apart from Sir John McKenzie and Mr J B Thomson, the member of the board with the longest record of service was Mr W M Ollivier, an indefatigable worker for the sport.

Credit: 'Ribbonwood' writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 21Jun50

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