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Pointers in New Zealand

Photo of Ch Peggy O'Neil
Ch. Peggy O'Neil pictured in 1940 after going Best in Show at Masterton All Breeds show.

The history of Pointers in New Zealand undoubtedly goes back a long way, certainly before the turn of the century, but unfortunately I could gain very little information from before 1930, so in this article I will confine myself to dogs registered for breeding from that time onwards.

Old kennel names from that time include "Wakatu", "Gloucester" and "Seaford", but by far the most influential single name since that time is that of S D (Sid) Geary - "Stamford". Sid Geary was born in 1905 and started with Pointers in the 1920's and co-operated with the "Seaford" kennels, using the prefix "Stamford" for some time before registering it on April l3th. 1938. Sid's first good show type and gundog (his lines have always been acknowledged to be good workers, particularly in the water) was a bitch "Ch. Lucky Gift" who was born November 20th 1930. She was mated to "Ch. Wakatu Spot" and from that litter born on 10th August 1936 he kept a bitch "Stamford Geraldine" who became the mother of the best Pointer he owned, "Ch Stamford Statesman" on October 2lst 1940, sired by Glenviggen Dream (Imp UK) . "Ch.Stamford Statesman" gained about forty CC's over the war years and was also a good working gundog . "Ch. Lucky Gift" when mated to "Stamford Sentinal" earlier produced "Seaford Tui" who, when mated with "Glenviggen Dream" produced "Ch. Peggy O'Neill".

"Ch Peggy O'Neil" was a beautiful black, and white bitch who won Best in Show at least once, at Masterton in 1940, and she was mated to "Ch. Stamford Statesman" a number of times producing a great line of show and gun dogs including "Ch.Stamford Stately" who went to Jim Thurston of "Kinkora", "Stamford Stylist" who went to R S Smith of Australia"Stamford Symphony" and others. He also mated "Ch Lucky Gift" to "Glenviggen Dream" to get "Stamford Super Ex" thereby giving him three strings to his bow and "Stamford Celebrity" who went to Owen Dawson in Australia was composed of all three of these lines. "Stamford Celebrity" won Best of Breed at the Melbourne Royal in 1950 from an entry of 52 Pointers His sister "Stamford Sherry" won Best of Breed at the Sydney Royal about the same year, while their aunt "Ch. Stamford Stately" won Best of Breed at Melbourne in 1949. Stamford Celebrity's influence still remains and Owen Dawson regards him as one of the greatest dogs to come into Australia.

"Glenviggen Dream (lmpUK)" who was instrumental in so much of this was a son of the famous "Marlais Marksman" whelped in 1935 and imported by an aristocratic English gentleman Bertie Rawson . Bertie Rawson was not a breeder himself but "Glenviggen Dream" was used by several breeders and Sid Geary in particular made very good use of him. International judges of that era stated that New Zealand Pointers were as good as any in the world and "Glenviggen Dream" by all accounts must be considered a major factor in that.

Two other breeders appeared on the scene in the mid-thirties that have had a lasting effect on local dogs; Mr Storey of "Fern dale" kennels and Mr Gregory of "Galway". A famous dog that appears on many later pedigrees "Ch. Director of Galway" born December 23 1953, was actually bred by P Cavanagh and J Thurston from "Ch.Debonair Kitty of Kinkora" (whose sire was "Ch. Stamford Statesman"). Jim Thurston ("Kinkora") of Cambridge and Roy Cavanagh ("Debonair") came a bit later, about 1941, and again they largely used Stamford lines which just goes to show how much influence Sid Geary had over the years. Jim Thurston was very successful with "Ch. Stamford Stately" as well as his own Kinkora dogs in the show ring. Later on he was to win Best in Show at the National Dog Show in I960 with his own "Kohanga of Kinkora" and then repeat it the next year with "Ch. Lucknow Lilac" (lmp.Aust) bred by Owen Dawson. "Lucknow Lilac" went back through "Galway Glitter" to "Glenviggen Dream", and her paternal grand-sire was "Ch. Stamford Statesman" again.

The next name to emerge is Mrs Helen Sapio of "Crutchfield" kennels in New Brighton, Christchurch. She started with a bitch "Galway Garland", again sired by "Ch.Stamford Statesman", and eventually put her to the post-war United Kingdom import "Ch.Dimas Moonraker" to produce "Ch. Crutchfield Denier Cri" on April 6th. 1948. "Dimas Moonraker" (lmp.UK), the dog she used, was the first post-war import and was sired by "Herewithem Moscow's Spirit" (USA). "Dimas Moonraker" however appears to have had no lasting effect on our dogs.

This covers the main older breeders of Pointers of past years and also probably the period of greatest success of Pointers in New Zealand up till the present time, although there are a few names I have left out who only bred one litter. As an example it is interesting to look at the results of the 1945-46 year to gauge their success, out of 67 Championship Shows no fewer than Eight Best in Show awards were taken by Pointers. After that time breeding died down considerably, the last dog I have records of Sid Geary breeding was "Stamford Shemara" on November 11th 1969, and then in December 1973 his son, John Geary had a litter out of her by "Collwill Brandy" under the name "Ashbourne" from which "Ashbourne Contessa" went to Wally Grieve of "Ashley Bank".

Wally Grieve bred several litters in the early'70's from his bitch "Queen of Corydon", whose grandparents included "Ch. Director of Galway" and "Ch. Lucknow Lilac", and he sold one "Ch. Lord of Ashley Bank" to Mark Verran of Levin who started the "Gameflush" kennels. Mark used him for several litters and then in 1975 he sired two litters for Russell Leech from his "Stamford Senorita" which started the well known "Arista" kennels. In 1976 "Arista" kennels embarked on a programme of importation and bought in over ten dogs in the next few years, one of the first being "Ch. Crookrise Gunner" (lmp.UK), and from his first litter to "Stamford Senorita" in June 1977, John and Carol Craig bought a bitch "Ch. Delicia of Arista" which became the basis of the Pointers from "Tuke Glen" kennels. However the best known Arista import is "Aust & N Z Ch. Crookrise Firebrand" (Imp.UK) who has done more than any other recent dog to bring Pointers back into the public eye.

Down in Christchurch in 1980, Rev. J Unverricht decided to mate his bitch "Gameflush Bright Lass" and approached Wally Grieve who suggested "CoIwill Brandy", and from this litter Mrs L Dunscombe bought a bitch "Ch. Audrey of Bernolga" upon which her "Porthcurno" kennels is now based. Tuke Glen along with Carol's sister Helen McReady then imported "Ch.Crookrise Sirius (UK)" plus a couple of dogs from David Wong in Australia which gave their lines a big boost, unfortunately Carol Craig died in a car accident and the dogs were taken over by her sister Helen and her mother who subsequently moved to Australia. Currently we also have Miss J Hamilton of Christchurch (Pinerock), Mr.P Robinson of Auckland (Robwyn") and Mrs I Shepard in Nelson all started from "Arista" and "Porthcurno", plus Mr V Williams "Kilmacud" in Christchurch and Tuke Glen", although Miss Hamilton has imported two Stonebridglees dogs and is persuing those lines now. Also we have Mrs.D.O'Neill (Chesterhope) & Mrs.S.Evans (Pinnacle) & Rex Young (TopShot) who started with Arista stock plus Tuke Glen. Thus it is quite possible that without Wally Grieve and Mark Verran to keep the breed going in the early 1970's none of the current kennels might be around, but they are and you can still see the "Stamford" influence in them tracing back to that grand old dog "Ch. Stamford Statesman."

(The above is an abridged version of a more extensive article I wrote some years ago, if you would like to know more please email me and I can send you the complete article plus pictures)


(c) 1999 Rosenstreich Updated 22 May 99