Originally printed in the NZHA magazine (reproduced here with permission)
Miniature Herefords were introduced to New Zealand, by Chris and Helen Russell of Esprit Stud. They originally farmed regular size Herefords at Waimauku, north-west of Auckland, but became exasperated at the damage caused to paddocks by these bigger animals particularly in the wet, winter conditions. In 1997 they discovered there were Miniature Herefords which had just arrived in Australia from the USA and it became a goal to establish this variety in New Zealand. By the end of 1997 the first stock arrived along with embryos from Canada. From 1997 to 2002 Chris and Helen imported embryos and semen from Miniature Herefords in Australia and Canada. During that time their Esprit Stud moved to the Waikato. Mrs C.M. Beard of Tui Oaks Stud in Te Kuiti imported embryos in 2001 from which was born Tui Oaks Brandon Oak which is still on the NZ Hereford semen sire register today. John Peterson of Akatea Stud in Pukekohe imported the last live stock in the form of six heifers from Australia in 2002. In 2008 the Russells imported semen from two more American bulls, one of which was the first polled Miniature Hereford for New Zealand. This was followed in 2012 with polled semen from another American Miniature Hereford bull imported by Janet Poole of Riverlets Stud in Northland.
Interest in these smaller and chunky Herefords has gradually spread throughout New Zealand with breeders appreciating the ability to run more animals per acreage along with the lessened damage to facilities and pasture. They have the same good temperament and ease of handling as their larger counterparts and are a great way to help promote the participation of young people in cattle management.
Read the full article here with the included photos.