NZ MET turns 120
by Peter Craig
According to the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club's certificate of incorporation, Friday 16 October 2020 represents its one hundred and twentieth anniversary.
The original NZMTC was an amalgamation of the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club (raced at Frog Park immediately south of Lancaster Park) and the Canterbury Trotting Club (raced at A&P Showgrounds, Addington) with inaugural meetings taking place at Addington Raceway on Monday 6 and Friday 10 November 1899 (five furlongs track upgraded to six furlongs around 1910).
Brief timeline of significant events at Addington:
- 11 April 1903 Easter famous match race between Australian trotter Fritz and NZ pacer Ribbonwood.
- 1912 infield semaphore board (drivers/riders names) installed.
- January 1922 Canterbury Park club purchased lease to Addington Raceway from NZMTC, commenced racing at Addington (1/2 January 1923), NZMTC became tenant of Canterbury Park.
- April/May 1938 first Christchurch Interdominions.
- 11 November 1938 first sub two minute mile outside Northern Hemisphere, Lawn Derby TT1:59.4.
- Cup Day 1946 photo finish first used.
- 6 April 1957 Tactician first Australasian sub two minute race mile (1:59.8).
- 1960 Twiggers Stand opened.
- Show Day 1961 fourth major fire at the Raceway destroyed the public stand during the running of Cardigan Bay’s NZFFA victory (others Cup Day 1916, September 1926, Show Day 1953).
- 1963 Cup carnival night trotting introduced.
- 7 December 1963 New Brighton club moved to Addington Raceway.
- Royalty at Addington : Duke/Duchess of York (future King George VI/Queen Mother), New Brighton Royal meeting, Tuesday 15 March 1927; Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, NZMTC Royal Complimentary meeting, Saturday 19 January 1935; Queen Elizabeth II, NZMTC Royal meeting, Thursday 21 January 1954; Queen Mother, Royal Easter Cup Final day, Saturday, 23 April 1966; Queen Elizabeth II in her Silver Jubilee year, NZMTC royal night meeting, Thursday 3 March 1977.
- 19 February 1977 Nigel Craig first Australasian sub two minute trotter (T1:58.8TT).
- December 1980, three clubs (NZMTC/CPTC/NBHRC) purchased 87 acres at Raceway from North Canterbury Hospital Board (Addington Raceway Limited leased land from Hospital Board since 1942).
- Easter Saturday 1990 Metropolitan Stand opened.
- 1998 three clubs (NZMTC/CPTC/NBHRC) amalgamated forming “new” club NZMTC.
- 10 March 2000 passing lane introduced.
- 15 May 2009 new stables complex opened.
- Public Stand demolished following 2011 earthquakes.
- 1 June 2019 Harness Jewels.
NZMTC, Addington Raceway has been a premier Australasian club since its formation 120 years ago.
Its signature race the New Zealand Trotting Cup has been run annually since November 1904.