Cattle farming in New Zealand began in 1814 when the Reverend Samuel Marsden landed a bull and two heifers in the Bay of Islands.
First pedigree Jerseys to set foot on New Zealand soil were a trio brought to Wanganui in 1862 from Jersey Island by the late Mr. Thos Syers.
Mr. Syers, a native of Jersey Island, intended the cattle as a present to his two daughters, who were living in Wanganui, but shortly after their arrival in New Zealand they passed into the hands of Mr. Lawrence Daniels, "Killymoon", Rangitikei. The male member of the trio was a bull registered as "The old Marquis! and the cows were "Duchess" and "Lucy". As the outcome of the mating of "The Old Marquis" and "Lucy" there was produced a heifer calf, "Jenny", destined to go down in history as the cow that first directed the attention of New Zealand towards the vast potentialities of the Jersey breed. "Jenny" was presented by Mr. Daniels to Mrs. A.W.F. Halcombe , then living at Marton, mother of Mr. A. H. Halcombe, who still maintains a large herd at Urenui, Taranaki. A little later, Mrs. Halcombe took over all of Mr. Daniels`cattle, then numbering ten or twelve, and this was the first important step in the expansion of the breed.
The sale of "Jenny" in 1876, by Mrs. Halcombe to W.K. Hulke, Bell Block, Taranaki, was an epoch-marking event in Jersey history. Mr. Hulke paid £40 for "Jenny", put a halter around her head and led her on foot from Marton to Bell Block, a distance of approximately 130 miles. "Jenny" was, of course, the first Jersey to enter Taranaki, and, partly to her and to the energies of her owner, the late Mr. Hulke, is due much of the credit for directing attention to the breed in the early days. For "Jenny" quickly became known as the "champion dairy cow of Taranaki," winning the supreme honour over all breeds at the New Plymouth show, and her owner broadcasted wide and far the story of the breeds`s prowess. Mr. Hulke and his famous old cow were certainly the first to make the breed known in New Zealand.
The first step taken in the wider dessemination of Jersey blood was the sale held i 1879 by the late Mrs. Halcombe, who at this time was living at Feilding. The original stock seccured from Captain Daniels, together with their progeny, a total of about twenty head, were sold to fanciers in various parts of New Zealand, who, with the exception of Mr. Hulke, had not previously owned Jerseys. Amongst the purchasers at the sale were such stalwarts of the early days as Messrs. Jas. McCosh Clark (Auckland), T. Morring (Auckland), Thos McKay (Nelson), W.K. Hulke (Bell Block), and Cornelius Day (Waikato).
The Coming of "CiCero II."
In 1880 Mrs. Halcombe visited Jersey Island, and while there selected a bull and a cow for Messrs. McCosh Clark and Morring. The bull was "Cicero 2nd" and the cow was "Lady Bountiful" from both of which most of the present New Zealand stock are descended. "Cicero 2nd" was a son of "Cicero", who won first prize at the island Royal and who was later sold for America at £625, an enormous price in those days. "Cicero 2nd" did not have a very long career in New Zealand for he was shot in 1885, consequent upon his killing his attendant at the Auckland show. He was by no means a ferocious bull and the tragedy was only the result of the attendant carelessly kneeling in front of him in the stall. Almost everything of any account at the present day traces in some way or another to "Cicero 2nd," unquestionably one of the most dominating influences in the breed`s establishment in New Zealand.
Cattle imported to Canterbury.
Shortly prior to the importation of "Cicero 2nd", the late Mr. H. P. Hill, Christchurch, imported stock from the Rev. J. Hill, Shropshire, England, whose herd was then described as being one of the few which had been kept pure in England for the preceding fifty years. Notable amongst the importation was "Primrose", the fountain-head of the famous family of that name. Another prominent Christchurch fancier at about that time was the late Rev. J.G. Bluett, whose importations, notably that of the Island-bred bull "Jersey", played a prominent part in the developement of the Jersey nursery now springing into being. Importations of stock were also made from Australia by Messrs Hill and Bluett, while from the same country there came the bull, "Pride of Australia", imported to Auckland by Captain Herrold, Remuera. "Pride of Australia" left a number of very fine milkers, but his best daughter was "Beauty 2nd", the foundation cow of one of the best families in the Dominion. In many instances the original Jersey females came to New Zealand as ship`s cows to furnish fresh milk on the voyage. Although not brought out in this capacity, one of the earliest cows, " Orange Rose," whose name is to be found away back in the pedigree of many of our present-day Jerseys, was called upon to fulfill a like duty under rather unusual circumstances. Upon the arrival of the ship on which "Orange Rose" travelled it was decided to send the Governor`s son to England for medical treatment. Owing to the child`s delicate health fresh milk for the voyage became necessary, and the services of "Orange Rose" were enlisted. Thus she was transported back to England, coming out to New Zealand for the second time on the ship`s return journey.
The present secretary of the New Zealand Jersey Association, Mr. W.M. Tapp, was closely connected with the breed in the early stages of its development in the Auckland province, and it would appear from his observations that following Mrs. Halcombe`s sale in the Rangitikei in 1879, most of the Jersey activity in New Zealand was centred around Auckland. The Morrins and McCosh Clark, together with F.L. Wright, were amongst the earliest enthusiasts.
The first volume of the New Zealand stud book, issued in 1886, and including all breeds, contained only eleven pedigree Jersey bulls. Volume II, issued about three years later, contains a number of entries and is of special interest as indicating the manner in which the fanciers of that time set about the establishment of their favourite breed. Sons and grandsons of "Cicero 2nd" and several sons of Jersey are prominent in this volume, while Arthur Dermer, Feilding, is shown as having registered a bull named "Charlie", who was by a bull of Hill`s breeding from female stock imported from Melbourne by Rev. Mr. Bluett. The first bull registered by Cornelius Day, the pioneer of the Jersey in the Waikato, rejoiced in the name of "Cato", and he was bred by McCosh Clark. He was by "Cicero 2nd", from a grand-daughter of "Lady Bountiful", the original cow selected on the Island by Mrs. Halcombe. Several of the females in Volume II, appear to have been descended from the imported bulls, "Malabrand" and "Garibaldi" but of them unfortunately there seems to be no trace.
While Auckland acted as one of the earliest nurseries of the bred in New Zealand, Christchurch also seems to have been a comparatively strong Jersey centre. A subsequent volume of the old New Zealand stud book indicates the importation by the Rev. Mr. Bluett at about this time of a good deal of foundation stock from Melbourne. Another Christchurch fancier, Mr. Geo Gould, was practically contemporaneous, and he is notable in Jersey history for his importation from England in 1892 of "Dry Monopole" and "Monopoly", both sons of "Monopolist". In the proper sequence of events, Bluett was the earliest Canterbury breeder, Hill purchasing several head from him and Gould then buying from Hill. It was from Mr. Gould that much of the earlier stock in the southern portion of the North Island came, while one of the prominent breeders of those times, Jas. Stuckey, Wairarapa, aquired his foundation cattle from Mr. Hill.
The Waipiko stud, established in 1889 by the late mr. Arthur Dermer and still successfully carried on by his son, mr. C.G.C. Dermer, was founded on cattle purchased from mr. Stuckey. While it is perhaps ahead of Jersey history in other parts of New Zealand, it is here opportune to refer to the fact that all of mr. Gould`s cattle were taken over in the late nineties by the late mr. H.E. B. Watson, Christchurch, and mr. E. Ragle, Carterton, who is still alive. At about this time also, the famous cow "Primrose 5th", daughter of "Dry Monopole", came into the possession of mr. W. H. Booth, Carterton, who purchased several other members of the "Primrose" family from mr. Stuckey. As the "Sunflowers" and the "Bilberrys" came from the "Primrose" family, the powerful influence of the early Christchurch blood upon our Jersey stock in New Zealand will be readily recognised.
"Magnet`s Boy" sire to which much of our present stock traces, was imported from Victoria by F. Luard Wright, Auckland. "Sailor Boy", the sire of a great many of Cornelius Day`s cattle, was calved at sea in 1893 when his dam was on the way out from Jersey Island. At about the same time the late Cornelius Day owned the Australian-bred bull, "Retford Boy", the sire of the champion cow, "Buttercup", who also played a very important part in the development of the Pencarrow herd. About six years later, in 1899, he imported "New Zealand`s Exile" from the United States. This was a very plain, orange fawn coloured bull, from the St. Lambert herd, the first herd in America to be bred for production. Mr. Day was very dissatisfied with the type of his daughters, but was very enthusiastic about the milking qualities of his descendants in later generations. Two of the best cows amongst the foundation Jerseys at the Ruakura State Farm were granddaughters of "New Zealand`s Exile."
One of the largest importations was made in 1897 by F.A. White, Auckland, who brought out from England a number of Island bred cattle, including "Golden Brown" and "Sardinia", a daughter of the historic sire, "Golden Lad". This cow, "Sardinia" had twin heifer calves to "Golden Brown", and one of them, "Charlotte", went to Taranaki, where she was known as "Starlight".
Purebred Stock Purchased from Auckland.
It is an interesting fact in Jersey history that Taranaki, commonly regarded as the home of the Jersey, actually drew a big proportion of its foundation stock from Auckland. Many were shipped from One hunga to New Plymouth in the "nineties", but the breed had as yet made so little progress that prices were exceedingly low. The imported bull "Magnet`s Boy" was amongst those that went from Auckland to Taranaki, while amongst the line of thirty despatched to New Plymouth in 1899 by Cornelius Day was "Pride of Egmont".
It was not until about 1906 that Jerseys became to be really regarded as commercial propositions, and it was in Taranaki, then the leading dairying district of the Dominion, that they first began their triumphal march as the dairy farmer`s cow. A great deal of the credit for their entrenchment in Taranaki is due to the late Charles Clarke, who was probably the first man in New Zealand to fully visualise the possibilities of the breed as the most efficient and economic unit in the production of butter and cheese. Mr. Clarke brought a great number of head from Auckland and the Waikato in 1905 and 1906, and with them he set about to popularise the Jersey in Taranaki. Mr. F.W. Cornwall and his brother, the late mr. Richard Cornwall had been breeding Jerseys for some little time, their original stock having come from the pioneer Taranaki breeder, the late mr. Hulke. At about the time of mr. Clarke`s association with the breed, messrs. F.W. Cornwall and E. Grifiths were partners in breeding of Jerseys, having secured their foundation by the purchase of mr. F.L. Wright`s (Auckland) herd. Another prominent breeder who played a very material part in the development of the Jersey in Taranaki was mr. A.E. Watkin.
Dairying was now fast developing in Taranaki, then in the forefront as the principal dairying province of the Dominion, and as the industry progressed the breed steadily gained ground. Thus it was that Taranaki became the first "Jersey" province, to subsequently act as the distributing centre of pedigree Jersey cattle to others parts of the Dominion, and supplied the Auckland province with many thousands of Jersey grade cattle, which laid the foundation of the majority of the many profitable dairy herds of the northern province at the present time.
The Jersey in New Zealand. [A Treatise Covering the History of the Breed in the Dominion and the Reasons for its Meteoric Rise. Issued by New Zealand Jersey Cattle Breeders Association (Incorporated). Office: Rangitikei Street, Palmerstone North New Zealand. 1932.]