A North Otago husband and wife have been recognised for their services to the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association of New Zealand.Reg Partridge has been made an honorary life member and Marion Partridge received a national merit award.The Partridges’ involvement began 38 years ago. Mr Partridge, then a shepherd, met his future wife when he moved from Wairarapa to South Canterbury. They lived in South Otago and the Hakataramea Valley before settling in Enfield. Semi-retirement to a lifestyle block just south of Herbert followed, with Mr Partridge also working for a large grain operation nearby.His interest in black and coloured sheep developed from hand-rearing orphaned lambs. Eventually, the Partridges had a small Romney flock.
They called a meeting to set up a Waitaki branch of the national association in 1978, attracting 20 people. Mr Partridge was elected president and the Waitaki delegate to the national council, while Mrs Partridge was the Waitaki secretary.Mr Partridge helped to run field days, sheep sales, fleece auctions, displays and open days with neighbouring branches. He also encouraged members to present their sheep and wool at A&P shows.He became a national sheep judge in 1984 and still officiates at A&P Shows.
Dwindling numbers forced the Waitaki branch into recess in 1986. The Partridges joined the South Canterbury branch, now called South Canterbury/Waitaki. After being elected to its committee in 1994, Mr Partridge was president from 2000 to 2004, a national council member in 2001 and national vice-president in 2002 and 2003. He was national president from 2004 to 2007.
In his first year at the helm, New Zealand hosted the World Congress. That entailed numerous planning meetings, being a session convener at the event in Christchurch and organising the post-congress tour for overseas visitors.Mrs Partridge was also a session convener. Then she served on the national promotions committee for two years and from 2006 until last year was responsible for administration of congress books.In 2007 and 2008, Mrs Partridge was national vice-president and South Canterbury/Waitaki branch president. In 2009 she served on the national council.
Meanwhile, Mr Partridge was busy on various subcommittees. In 2005 he took on the sale convener duties, which continue to this day. He has also been the local branch secretary since 2013.
The couple sold their Romneys and lifestyle block last year and retired to Oamaru. But that did not mean severing connections with the association. Last weekend they hosted a branch meeting to prepare for next year’s national conference, to be held in Oamaru from April 27 to 30. Mr Partridge is its secretary-treasurer. In presenting the awards to Mrs and Mrs Partridge, the association acknowledged their tireless efforts and teamwork. “We’ve had a lot of enjoyable times over the years,” Mr Partridge said as new national and South Canterbury/Waitaki president Phillippa Sanders gave him his certificate of life membership.