Judith Hayward and John Foley at the launch of A Noble
Pursuit, the centennial history of the Waimate Sheep Dog
Trial Club and the story of the Waimate district. Photo by
A new book marking 100 years of the Waimate Sheep Dog
Trial Club is ''more than just a story about a club''.
A Noble Pursuit, by Waimate author and historian John
Foley, in collaboration with Judith Hayward, of Timaru, not
only tells the story of the club since its establishment in
1912 but also that of the Waimate district.
In launching the book in Waimate last week, Federated Farmers
vice-president William Rolleston said it was a reminder of
''enormous'' changes in technology.
From bullock trains that hauled logs and produce on unformed
roads at speeds of about eight miles a day - a big contrast
to the big trucks that were now ''thundering'' down the roads
- to the replacement of the horse-drawn strippers with modern
However, throughout all those changes, and while there might
be fewer sheep, the sheepdog had not been replaced, Dr
''We haven't found anything better than the sheepdog to do a
better job than what the sheepdog does,'' he said.
The first account of sheepdogs in the book revealed ''not a
particularly noble pursuit''; it involved the theft of 500
ewes from his great-great-grandfather George Rhodes at The
Levels, in South Canterbury.
Contrary to myths that circulated, the legendary James
Mackenzie's dog ended up in the possession of Mr Rhodes and
the family had a photograph of it, he said.
The backdrop to the book was the varied ebb and flow of
Waimate's history and its fortunes. He was very pleased to
see the dog trial club was in ''really good heart''.
Mr Foley said the book provided an opportunity to honour
those men and women who had got both the club and the
district to where it was today.
Obtaining accuracy with the results and the lineage of dogs
was a ''difficult component'' and it had been a ''wonderful
privilege'' to work with Mrs Hayward.
While Mr Foley looked after the history of the business, she
focused on the dog trial aspect, which included compiling
results and sorting photographs.
There was a strong family connection as both her maternal and
paternal grandfathers were original members of the club.
Both Mr Foley and Mrs Hayward were delighted with the result,
saying it had been a very satisfying project.