NZ Murray Grey

Fifty years of the Murray Grey Society in New Zealand 1970-2020

In the first half of 1970 a small number of interested cattlemen made their way to Australia to check on reports which had been made about a new breed of cattle called Murray Greys. These cattle had had a certain amount of publicity in agricultural periodicals and this had been followed by a party of Australians on a semen selling mission.

            The interest shown by New Zealanders resulted in a meeting being called for the purpose of founding a Murray Grey Society. The meeting was convened by Mr A.K.Spilman and held in Palmerston North on 21st July 1970 and attended by 48 persons, including representatives from three stock companies. A further 16 apologies were received.

Subsequently a number of those present elected to form the New Zealand Grey Cattle Society, based largely on importations of Tasmanian Grey cattle.

The first Council of the Murray Grey Society consisted of:

President-Mr Spilman, Vice President-Mr D.K. MackenzieMessrs T.A. Blunt, D.A. Williamson, J Welsh, B.P. Clark,  J.F. Wylie, J.G. Aitkin, B.J. Dalby and G. Rountree.

Mr B.J. Dalby was appointed the Society’s Secretary and Mr C.J. Miller the Society’s inspector and also a floating member of the committee. The council felt that a one man inspection system was most desirable and subsequent events have proved this to have been a wise decision.

A lot of effort was put into the formulation of the rules and by-laws and these were made along similar lines to the Australian Society.  With the rapid growth of the Society in 1971-1973 it was found necessary to appoint an assistant to Mr Miller and so Mr A.B.Dunnet was appointed to assist with inspection duties. He took up his duties in May 1973. In November 1971 discussions between the Murray Grey Society and the N.Z. Grey Society and after several meetings between the two councils agreement on a basis of amalgamation was reached. The two Societies eventually joined together in July 1972.

            In the early days of the Society it was not possible to import cattle from Australia but in October 1971 the first shipment of cattle from Australia for 90 years arrived in New Zealand comprising of Murray Grey cattle.             Earlier Mr D.K.Mackenzie imported Murray Greys from (mainland) Australia, diverting them through Tasmania.     Since the first shipment there have been more cattle imported.

            In the last 12 months there have been numerous exports to the United States and substantial semen sales have also been made.   The Society’s membership at 1.12.74 consisted of 325 members and this number is increasing at a steady rate.

Council as at 1974 President J.Welsh, Vice President J.F.Wylie, Past President D.K.Mackenzie and  C.J.Miller, R.M.Twistleton, D.H Boyd, T.M. Mulvaney, M.J.S Townsend, B.P.Clark, B.J. Dalby, D.A Wiliamson, P.D.Vavasour.

(reprinted from The Murray Grey Society of New Zealand Handbook- 1975)