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New Zealand

The Beginning

In 1962 when the NZ Director-General of Agriculture, D N R Webb, was in Europe, he pursued his interest in the Charolais breed with a visit to Nevers.  There he was escorted to several Charolais Fairs and studs by the President of the Charolais Herd Book, Mr Emille Maurice, and his son, Francois, later Executive President of FIAERBC.  At this stage it was not possible to negotiate a way around the prohibition on exports then in force.  Lifted in 1965 it coincided with a visit to Europe by Mr Jack Sutherland.  His hotel in Navarre in France was crowded with enthusiasts from many countries attending the Charolais sales.  He accepted an invitation to accompany the delegates from the United Kingdom.  He was so impressed by what he saw and by what he learnt from the experience of Angus, Friesian and Shorthorn cows as matrons.

The first Charolais semen was imported to New Zealand from Britain in 1965 for trials at Lincoln and Ruakura Research Centres.  The following year commercial semen was brought in by Mr J M Sutherland of “Centrewood”, Waimate.  He had seen Charolais while on holiday in France and was so impressed at their size that he determined to introduce them to the New Zealand beef scene.

Enhanced Beef Production for New Zealand

Between 1969 and 1981; 61 bulls and 302 females were imported into New Zealand from Great Britain, forming the basis of the Full French Charolais in the country.  The majority of purebred cattle were bred by "grading up" using a French Charolais sire over a base Angus, Friesian, Shorthorn or Hereford cow.  By the fifth generation (31/32) purebred status is reached.  Now a combination of Full French and North American Charolais Blood has developed the New Zealand Charolais, with the Trademark Charolais growth rate and muscle, better suited to the grass feed beef production systems used in New Zealand.

Thus the Charolais breed was launched commercially in New Zealand, the first new breed introduced into New Zealand since the importation of the Galloways in 1947.

1967       Charolais cattle where for the first time at an A & P Show in Timaru.

1970       A shipment of Charolais-cross cattle went to Australia for auction there.

1973       National Beef Recording scheme Pilot Beef plan system.

1980       First polled Charolais imported from USA by the Lomas family.

1980       International Charolais Congress was held in New Zealand, presided over by Jack Sutherland

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