Bruce Paterson’s family has always been interested in merinos.
His father George established Armidale Stud before the Second World War, but then let it lapse because of the war. Bruce restarted it again in 1954 when he bought ewes and rams from the Hope brothers at Grampian Station.
“At that stage I regarded them as probably the best sheep in the country. I was looking for size, conformation and plenty of wool. These are the main criteria that the stud still sticks to.”
In 1960 Bruce went to the Canterbury A&P Show to look at the stud sheep. He returned the next year with four merino hoggets. He placed first and second in the strong wool ram hogget class and first in the strong wool ewe hogget class. He also won cups for the best ram and ewe hogget over the three sections—fine, medium and strong. Fourteen out of 15 years he won the Woodchester Cup. This is a special prize for a team of five, comprising of three rams and two ewes.
In latter years Bruce has still been able to keep in touch with other breeders by doing the shearing inspections and tagging the sheep for the next year’s Canterbury Show.
Bruce was chairman of the New Zealand Merino Studbreeders’ Society from 1977-1980 and made a life member in 1992. He is also patron and life member of the Maniototo A&P Association and life member of the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society. He has been a great supporter of A&P shows, and two tooth ewe and ewe hogget competitions.
“They are a great way to compare what you have with someone else.”
These days Bruce is retired and lives in Ranfurly in Central Otago. His son Allan runs the stud which is located 14km west of Ranfurly at Gimmerburn.
Looking back over a lifetime on the land the thing Bruce cherishes most is the companionship of the people.
“I have enjoyed the company of the other people. The merino breeders are a close knit lot, even though when it comes to showing we are very competitive.”