“Father of the New Zealand Turf”.
A new biography of Redwood, Henry appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.enry Redwood was born in 1822 at Tixall, Staffordshire, the eldest son of Henry Redwood, a farmer, and of Mary née Gilbert. He was educated in England, and in 1842 accompanied his family to the new Nelson settlement in the George Fyffe. For some years young Redwood farmed at Waimea with his father, but in 1863 he took up a large farm at Spring Creek, Marlborough, on his own account. From 1863 to 1869 he served on the Nelson Provincial Council, being a member of the Executive for two years. During this period he also served on the Marlborough Provincial Council for two months.
Redwood had been brought up amongst horses and had owned and ridden racehorses in England. Soon after his arrival in New Zealand he imported seven thoroughbred stallions, including the famous sire, Sir Hercules., and 20 brood mares. His stud farm and training stables at Waimea West became known throughout Australasia. Redwood's horses and horses bred from his stud enjoyed an enviable record of successes. Horses carrying his colours (black jacket and red cap) won the Canterbury Jockey Club Handicap (now New Zealand Cup); Canterbury Derby; Canterbury Cup and Nelson Cup four times; the Canterbury Great Autumn Handicap; Canterbury Champagne Stakes and Marlborough Cup three times; the Dunedin Jockey Club Handicap and the Wellington Cup twice; and the Dunedin Cup and Dunedin Forbury Cup once. In 1875 G. G. Stead (1841–1908), the famous racehorse owner, bought a half-share in Redwood's racing stud. Under the partnership agreement Stead managed the business side while the training was put in the hands of E. Cutts. The horses were raced in the name of one or other of the partners. This arrangement, which proved immensely successful, lasted into the 1890s and was terminated when Stead bought out Redwood's share of the stud. During his lifetime Henry Redwood was known as “the Father of the New Zealand Turf” and New Zealand owes to him the importation of some of the best racing strains in the country.
In 1847, at Nelson, Redwood married Elizabeth Palmer, by whom he had two sons. He died at Blenheim on 9 November 1907. His burial service was conducted by his brother, Archbishop Redwood.
by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.
- The New Zealand Turf Register 1906–07
- Turf, Tufts and Toe-weights, Scott, K. (et. al.) (1954)
- The Colonist (Nelson), 12 Nov 1907 (Obit).