The Rich History of the New Zealand Cavy Club

Until 1975 there were no pedigree cavies in new Zealand.

Andrew Benson who had come from the Uk to live in NZ missed his pedigree cavies and started to import some from England. At about the same time Jack Whit worth, a UK all breeds cavy judge settled in NZ for his retirement, and was astounded that there were no cavy shows in NZ. On the initiative of these two a meeting of interested people was called in January of 1976 and over 70 people turned up, all owning pet cavies. So the National Cavy Club of New Zealand was formed and newsletters sent out and people joined the club from all over NZ and even overseas. In April of 1976 the first show was organised, judged by Jack Whitworth. The exhibitors brought their cavies in carry boxes and judged from those. As yet the club had no display cages. As numbers of members and imports grew and  shows got bigger entries, the club bought display cages so the general public could admire the various breeds together in groups. The club started a stud register and to give out championship certificates. Jack Whitworth started to train interested NZ cavy breeders in judging. The English standards were used with some alterations to suit NZ needs. Clubs started up in other parts of NZ and were initially affiliated to the National cavy club of NZ. When the club applied to be incorporated in 1978, it was told that the word National could not be used for a hobby club and the name was changed to New Zealand cavy Club Inc. In  2005 incorporation was dropped because of editor expenses.
Initially we only had three qualified judges, Jack Whitworth, his son in law Terry Hood and Andrew Benson. Jack Whitworth travelled all over NZ to various clubs to educate and train and once the first batch of his trainees had in his opinion were competent to judge, they in turn began to train as well.
In 1979 “ judging and the standards “ was published, written by jack Whitworth. It contained all the standards used by judges for each breed. It was periodically updated as new breeds were introduced into NZ. Eventually specialist clubs became responsible for voting on changes in standards and submitting to the judges association for final approval
Soon the other clubs wanted to be independent and affiliation ceased. Each club appointed their own club judges.
By 1983 clubs and exhibitors thought it would be nice to have a National show and at a meeting in Hamilton where a large number of clubs were represented at a show, the Combined Cavy Clubs of New Zealand was formed with the purpose of looking after the National show, which was to rotate around the country held by the various clubs, and the first year book was published. The CCC once formed, eventually took over the stud register and also started to give out championship certificates. However the NZCC never stopped to give out championship certificates, and both are recognised at National shows. In January 1985 the New Zealand cavy judges Association was formed after an inaugural meeting in 1984, to introduce uniformity in judging and develop a uniform training scheme for new trainee judges.
For the NZCC February show in 1985 Mr. jack Davidson from Melbourne Australia was sponsored by NZCCI to judge in conjunction with Christa Krey. The first Australian judge ever, to judge in New Zealand.
In April 1986 another Australian judge, Dennis Kingston was brought over to judge at the 10th anniversary show. At this show Mrs. Whitworth presented the J. Whitworth memorial trophy.
On the 6th of July 2013 the New Zealand cavy Club celebrated it’s 150th  all breeds show
The club currently holds five shows a year, three in Himatangi Beach and two in new Plymouth.
At the February 2016 show, the club will celebrate 40 years of continuous existence.
A copy of the regular newsletter, The Cavy Chronicle,  is sent to the Turnbull library, where copies of all New Zealand publications are held.