An announcement last year that there will be dramatic changes from 2019 to New Zealand’s
thoroughbred racing industry including decreasing the number of racing venues, has raised
questions as to the future of racing club records which in some instances cover more than a
With a scholarship from the Ian McLean Wards Memorial Trust, Wellington archivists
and photographers Seán McMahon and Dylan Owen will this year be researching and
publishing a specialist records and archives guide for New Zealand thoroughbred horse
The guide will offer practical advice on best practice for the long-term identification and
preservation of racing club records important for ongoing business and historical
research. It will also include a repository register which will make racing clubs aware of
local historical repositories should they wish to deposit their archives with these
Given the longevity and local community importance of many racing clubs,
there is likely to be a wealth of documentary heritage material, representing an
invaluable resource for local researchers, historians, scholars and genealogists.
By preserving their racing archives, clubs will help keep alive the local history and spirit
of their communities.
In addition to preparation of their guide, Seán and Dylan will be conducting a nationwide
photographic survey of New Zealand racecourses, recording their current social, cultural and
historical features. Images will include architectural infrastructure, racetrack landscapes and
race day participants, including the thoroughbreds, their jockeys, trainers and owners.
Where appropriate, the photographic record will be deposited in local and national
repositories as a record of current racing activity.
The Chair of the Wards Trust, Dr Brad Patterson, expressed the Trust’s pleasure at being able
to assist in the initiation of such an innovative project, one aimed at proactively encouraging
the preservation of a class of historical documents often overlooked by researchers and
collecting institutions. It was hoped that the project would also draw support from the wider
For further information contact:
Sean McMahon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dylan Owen, email@example.com