North Island St.Bernard Assn.Inc

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New Zealand
New Zealand
North Island St.Bernard
Association Inc.
Est: 1981

The North Island St Bernard Association Inc. was formally recognized by the New Zealand Kennel Club in December 1981, after a dedicated group of Saint owners banded together to form a club, following a successful Ribbon Parade, held in Hamilton, with 32 entries.
At that time, and still today, there was another St. Bernard breed club in New Zealand, they are based in the South Island and were established in October 1979. Due to the logistical difficulty for one club to hold events in both islands, and to meet the needs of the growing St.Bernard community at that time, it was agreed a separate North Island club was required,  and so the North Island St.Bernard Association was formed.
In February 1982, following many 'well fortified' discussions amongst owners of the three breeds, we held the first Match Parade and Battle of the Giants often referred to as 'the BOG' , together with invited breeds Pyrenean Mountain Dogs and Newfoundlands in Taupo.
The event was a great success and gained a permanent position in our annual club calendar.
This is a family weekend which has always been as much about socializing and having fun, as it ever was holding the Match.

The BOG has been held without interruption since its inception, occasionally including dog breeds other than the invited foundation breeds. The Bernese Mountain Dogs have now become a permanent addition making up the four represented breeds who attend.
A Fund Raising component has been a feature over the years. The collection of funds was a dedicated task that occurred by taking the dogs on a walk through the town to meet the public.
The proceeds of these collections have been donated to various registered  charities including Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Intellectually Handicapped Society,  Foundation for the Blind and PAWS.

In 2015 the club dropped the Match component of the Battle of the Giants in favour of games and this has proven to be a popular decision.

Two years after our club formation, the NISBA was awarded Open Show status and, three years later, we achieved Championship Show status.
We choose to use Specialist Judges for these annual events whenever possible, and
we have enjoyed the many St. Bernard Breed Specialist Judges experience and knowledge, which they are always willing to share with us, at an informal dinner, following the show.
Our specialist judges over the years have included St.Bernard luminaries such as Glenn Radcliffe, Carl Otto Mastrupp, Jan van de Belt, Carmelo Zappala, Seamus Oates, Pat Muggleton, Beverly Nosiglia, Georgia Rush, Lynn Jech, Donna & Ken Buxton and in 2016 Tan Nagrecha.

We produce an informative magazine called Saint Scene with a minimum of 125 pages over 5 issues per annum. In recent times Saint Scene has  become an e-magazine, and this change has proven to be a beneficial decision for many reasons.
The North Island St.Bernard Association was proud to host three Canine Nutrition Seminars with Dr Grant Guilford, (from Massey University), then 2nd in the world in Small Animal Nutrition, as our guest speaker.  These were in the early days of the availability of premium dried foods, and our seminars were attended by everyone from Veterinarians, to dog breeders and pet owners.

About the same time we organised a day when a large number of St.Bernard owners travelled to Massey University for a Hip Dysplasia x-ray and scoring session.  This day was well attended, and breeders and owners travelled long distances to support this initiative.  The responsible attitude exhibited by club members towards this disease is one of the contributing factors in the breed score average for St.Bernards hips in New Zealand improving over time, when so many other breed averages remain unchanged or higher over that period.

Dr Kevin Stafford, also of Massey University, was our guest speaker when our club hosted Canine Behaviour Seminars, aimed at providing us with a greater understanding of our dogs.

In conjunction with Massey University, we conducted a breed survey to determine the incidence of hereditary diseases carried by St. Bernards in New Zealand.  This information was collated and supplied to us which proved useful to St.Bernard breeders. By comparing ours with international data, they determined our dogs were fortunate not to have some of the issues that afflict St Bernards internationally, and to ensure it stayed that way. This information was also provided to and used by  the New Zealand Kennel Clubs Hereditary Disorder committee.

The North Island St.Bernard Association Inc. is a proactive club, recognizing and catering to the needs of both pet and show St. Bernard owners and we operate a Rescue Service for Saints in need and a Rehome Service for Saints who can no longer stay with their families.

We are proud to be supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in New Zealand and we have attended the Swiss Markets in Auckland for the last three years and the Mortgarten and Alplerchilbi events at the Ambassadors home in Wellington.

The North Island St Bernard Assn appreciates the sponsorship of  

The picture above, taken more than thirty years ago, was of our first Ribbon Parade, held at Rotorua, and judged by All Breeds and Specialist Judge, Clyde Rogers of Tai Yuan Kennels.
The image features three of our current five life members, not that you can tell with everyone squatting down behind their dogs.
When comparing with todays images, it becomes obvious the improvements that have been made in New Zealand in the quality of St Bernards, the handling and the photography since then. Circa 1980.

The images above show our 'set up' at the Swiss Markets.

The images above are of our club trailer.


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