The History of the Golden Retriever in New Zealand
and the history of the GRC
It appears that the first Goldens were imported into this country in 1926 or 1927 but from which kennels they came from is not known. However some English bred dogs appear in early pedigrees. Presumably some of the early dogs were imported from Australia but were of English origin.
The Golden Retriever Club was formed in New Zealand in 1948 by Mr R.T. Willan of Christchurch. Mr Willan whose kennel name was Huntingdon, was President of the Club until his death in 1957.
From 1957 the Club was inactive for ten years, but in 1967 a surge of popularity for the breed in the Auckland area brought about a revival, this time with an Auckland based committee, and with the club activities centred there for several years. However by 1975 the breed had reached eighteenth place in the Kennel Clubs table of registration and it became obvious that there was sufficient interest to justify the formation of other clubs so late in 1976, the Southern Golden Retriever Club in Christchurch and the Central Golden Retriever Club in Wellington emerged. The Golden Retriever Club based in Auckland has its zone of influence from Taupo north.
All three Golden Clubs continue to thrive and encourage participation in all aspects of Goldens be it pet, showing, agility, obedience or field trialling. Each club has about 250 members and twice as many dogs, mainly New Zealand bred now with occasional imports from Great Britain and Australia. Each club produces a bi-monthly newsletter which provides members with up to the minute information on health care, etc., in addition to listing the latest results from the many activities Goldens are involved in. The Clubs’ run championship shows for the pure bred pedigree dog and also hold several ribbon parades, training and picnic days for the pet owner.
The 1997 annual registration figures produced by the N.Z.K.C. shows Goldens in 3rd place with 109 litters producing 672 puppies in that year, this does not include the many pet litters also produced during this time.