Breeder was a three times fleece winner

19:52, Aug 29 2012

The man largely responsible for the development of the perendale breed of sheep died last week.

Graham Bryant was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for his services to agriculture and his contribution to the development of the perendale breed.

He won the Perendale Sheep Society's fleece of the year award three times.

Bryant, who farmed the 1618-hectare Onetai Station, 16 kilometres north of Awakino, was among a group of cheviot-romney cross breeders who met at what was then Massey Agricultural College in 1959 to discuss forming a new breed of sheep.

They named the breed perendale after Sir Geoffrey Peren, who was then principal of Massey. Bryant became the first president of the Perendale Sheep Society when it was formed in 1960.

He favoured perendales as dual- purpose, easy-care sheep with good muscular meat ideal for further processing.

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While his involvement in the breed developed in the 1950s, his interest in stud stock began when he was a boy on the family farm in Horowhenua, where his father ran a cheviot flock.

Bryant was made a life member of the Perendale Sheep Society in 1987 and belonged to the Sheep Society of New Zealand for 25 years. He was also a justice of the peace.

He was president of the Awakino Beach Racing Club and raced the 1980 filly of the year Summer Haze. He loved whitebaiting and shooting.

As a young man, he represented Horowhenua in badminton and played rugby for Horowhenua- Manawatu.

His funeral was held in Whanganui last week and he was buried at Mokau.

His wife, Heather, and son, Jeff, both died before him. He is survived by a son, Alistair, and daughter, Helen Beale, eight grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.

Taranaki Daily News