Royal Agricultural Society (RAS)

Our Purpose – Showcasing Rural Excellence

Our Vision – Supporting our members to connect, educate, excel and innovate

Our Guiding Principles
– Trusted Leadership
– Relationships & Partnerships
– Progressive

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5 December 2021

Today on International Volunteer Day – the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand (RAS) want to thank all those people who work so hard to showcase rural excellence in their own time, both locally and nationally. The RAS has 93 A&P association and 67 breed and kindred society members, all of whom cannot run without the involvement of their passionate, dedicated volunteers. Without them, local communities wouldn’t have their show, in some cases their facilities, and be able to continue what for some is a history of well over 150 years. Thousands of people around the country are involved in connecting their local communities, and then there are those who further get involved at district level. We equally appreciate our judges and national officials who work across the country.

Thank you to each and every one of you, we appreciate you all.

17 November 2021
Update from LRHOY Event Management – 
Land Rover Horse of the Year 2022 – Update

16 November 2021

Kia ora

Recently we have seen some changes among the Executive members, and this gives us an opportunity to see if the people “at the table” are doing the things that interest them and they have the right skills for. During our discussions around this, it became clear that Melissa Jebson had three areas of passion – sheep and cattle (noting she and her husband have a sheep stud at Charing Cross and have not long dispersed their Shorthorn and Charolais cattle studs), and equestrian. She is keen to continue with the Tri-Nations Equestrian Youth team and also has an interest in being the National Equestrian Judge’s Convenor (a position that has been vacant for some time). On that basis, she has taken over as the Golden Fleece Working Group Chair and the Executive temporarily offered her the role of National Equestrian Judges’ Convenor. She will hold the latter position until June 2022, at which time she or anyone else interested that may have put themselves up for election for the position, can be voted on by the members for the next three-year term.

Melissa is a well-known face to many members up and down the country and a conference regular. She rode successfully for many years showing ponies and horses, and in Round the Ring Hunter jumping classes.  A car accident in 1993 finished her riding career and led her into judging. She holds RAS  Grade 1, Tutor Judge status and has judged throughout New Zealand including the New Zealand Horse of The Year, and the United Kingdom. She was also joint  Manager of the Tri-Nations Youth Equestrian team in NZ 2017 and the UK in 2019.

Melissa says “Having been an active member of the Central District Tutor Judge’s group for many years, I am passionate about judging and encouraging Judges in their role. I feel that I offer guidance and support to our current and candidate Judges, and advocate when necessary on their behalf. Our District Judge Convenors need support and encouragement as they bring on new Judges and support upgrading judges.

I am approachable, have strong knowledge of the role of the Equestrian Judge and the functions of the RAS. Having sat on the Darfield High School Board of Trustees for nine years, I feel I have the ability to be honest and fair in all decisions. I look forward to working alongside all our Equestrian Judges across New Zealand.”

Please join us in congratulating Melissa and supporting her to be successful in this role.


Melissa Jebson
+64 21 236 5548
[email protected]

Ngā mihi
RAS Executive


16 November 2021


Thank you so much for being so patient while we worked with the LRHOY Event Manager.  After much consideration, we can confirm the following entry criteria for 2022 Land Rover Horse of the Year:

We will accept entries from all competitors wishing to compete at LRHOY regardless of qualification status when entering. However, in the event of class numbers exceeding 24, the event organiser and/or organising committee has the right to prioritise entries by implementing jointly the Tier 1 & 2 system equally. 

Note – no prior show attendance is required for 2022.

Any queries, please email the LRHOY Showing Convenor – Cara – [email protected]  


12 November 2021

RAS together with the LRHOY Event Manager are working through different qualification scenarios so no one is disadvantaged. At this stage, the tier system is in place. We will have an announcement next week on a simplified qualification platform. Thank you for your patience.


9 November 2021

Kia ora

Vice President Decision

The resignation of Brent Snellex and the appointment of Rachel Walker as President left the Executive with five rather than six members and without a Vice President. This has been the subject of much discussion among the Executive, especially given our goals over the coming months.

We identified that we wanted to boost our capability to lead our Next Generation (which includes youth) working group and also in our digital optimisation expertise.  We concluded that we needed a sixth member of the Executive to do those things so we were looking for that specific expertise in any new person.

Executive members were given an opportunity to state any interest they had in the role of Vice President for the seven months until the next AGM, with ultimately none of them wishing to be considered for it at this time. This meant that the only way to bring an additional person onto the Executive as a full voting member under the constitution was to co-opt someone who was willing to be the temporary Vice President until the next elections.

Historically the RAS has considered the Vice President role to be indicative of who will be the next President but not all organisations do that. Vice President or Deputy Chair roles have their own demands, and sometimes get tasked by their President or Chair to manage tough situations on their behalf, lead hard discussions or sort out problems. Its not an easy role and we need someone to potentially do those things until you have a chance to next elect someone who you think has those skills. Fortunately for us Nic Barkley was happy to step up in the interim for the next few months, otherwise we would not have had a Vice President until the next election and we couldn’t have bought someone with the skills we need now onto the Executive under the constitution.

Nic is not a new face to RAS, having spent the last year working alongside Exec members in an advisory role, and some may also know him from this year’s conference where he spoke on communications and how to make the best out of what we have. Nic also brings a range of governance experience from both central government as well as another membership-based not-for-profit where he was Vice-President and President.

Interim Vice President – Nic Barkley

Hailing from the Nelson region, Nic moved to Wellington in 2010 to undertaken study at Victoria University of Wellington before starting his career in public service at the New Zealand Police.

Having worked through a number of roles at Police, the Public Service Commission, and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s COVID-19 Response Group, Nic is now the Manager Media and Communications at the Department of Corrections. His role overseas the external media and social media relations of the Department nationwide, which includes a focus on risk and reputation management. 

Nic has previously spent three years on the Wellington Young Professional’s (WYP) Executive Committee, filling the roles of Marketing and Comms Manager, Secretary, Vice President and President. During his time on the Executive, Nic reset WYPs website and brand by creating a more professional and modern design, which resulted in a 80% reduction in costs and future-proofing the platform.

Nic is connected to the agricultural sector through family ties, with his aunt and uncle owning a dairy farm in the Nelson/Marlborough region. 


Nic Barkley
+64 27 605 8115
[email protected] 

Ngā mihi
RAS Executive

22 October 2021

 It is with great sadness and reluctance that the RAS Executive accepted the resignation of our National President Brent Snellex on 18 October 2021.

 Brent has asked that we share with you that he came to this decision after realising that his mental health battles could only be addressed by reducing or eliminating the stresses and pressures in his daily life. He remains passionate about the RAS and the showing movement, and the Executive wish him all the best in his recovery. We also thank him for everything he has done for the organisation during his terms as President, Vice President and Treasurer, as well as his time as an Executive member. Brent’s contribution has been significant but we would like to specifically acknowledge his time as the RAS representative on the NZ Equine Health Association.  He has held this role for many years and the membership has received comprehensive reports annually to ensure we were kept up-to-date with important equine matters.  

We look forward to an opportunity for us all to recognise Brent’s contribution and thank him properly in due course.

 The Executive have chosen, as per the constitution, to make a temporary appointment to the vacant office of President until the next Annual General Meeting. The Executive have therefore appointed Rachel Walker (previously the Vice President) as the temporary President.

 As you may note, this will leave the Vice President role vacant, and the Executive at five, rather than six, roles. We will be in touch shortly with our plans to fill these positions.

 If you have any questions regarding this message, please contact Debbie Cameron at [email protected] or Rachel Walker.

 Ngā mihi
RAS Executive


27 September 2021

Chief Executive Appointment Process

Further to the appointment process regarding the search for a replacement for our outgoing CEO Debbie Cameron, McLaren Associates have placed the following advertisement   

We will provide further updates as the recruitment process progresses, including our expected timeframes for an appointment and any necessary interim arrangements that we will need to make.

Regards, Brent Snellex
President – Royal Agricultural Society NZ (RAS)


27 September 2021

Qualification – Attendance for the 2022 RAS Showing Section at Land Rover Horse of the Year.

 COVID is continuing to have a major impact on events and consequently several A&P Shows & Events have already been cancelled for the upcoming show season

As no-one can predict the future, the decision has been made to

  • remove all attendance requirements
  • retain the qualification standard and
  • operate a similar tier system as proposed for last year.


Maximum numbers for each class will be established to ensure that classes do not get too big and to avoid timetable over-runs.  Entries will be confirmed in the following order on the following basis:

Tier 1 – Entries meeting 2021/22 qualification requirements (see below for more information).

Tier 2 – Entries utilising last year’s qualification with attendance requirements from the 2020/21 show season (see below for more information).

Tier 3 – Entries on a first come, first served basis.

 QUALIFICATION FOR 2022 IN BRIEF (fuller description in RAS Showing Section Qualification & Attendance Information will be made available)

X 1 Champion in the section/class you wish to enter

X 2 Reserve Champions in the section/class you wish to enter

X 2 Firsts (wins) in the section/class you wish to enter

X 1 Reserve Champion, x 1 First (win) in the section/class you wish to enter


You are looking to use last year’s qualification – this is a qualification and attendance that was sent in and confirmed by RAS Head Office as being eligible for last year. Last year’s qualification must match what you are entering this year e.g. same horse entering same class/section. When entering you will tick Tier 2 on this year’s qualification form before sending form through.


When entering through Equestrian Entries, all entries are automatically dated stamped.  This is what will be used to determine first come, first served in Tier 3.

Any enquiries please contact Cara O’Connor, RAS Showing Convenor on [email protected]


23 August 2021 – The Mid Northern District Equestrian Seminar to be held on 29 August has been POSTPONED – a new date will be advised as soon as it is known. Thank you – Keep Safe!

26 July 2021 – The RAS has followed the lead of ESNZ and NZ Pony Club and from the 1 January 2022 there is to be no trimming of whiskers, eye or inner ear hair/whiskers of horses/ponies competing at RAS affiliated A&P Shows/Events.  The following documents explain in full
1. Powerpoint version – PP Whisker & Ear Trimming
2. Pdf. of Powerpoint version – PP Whisker & Ear Trimming
3. Pamphlet to be able to be handed out to competitors –  RAS Whisker & Ear Trimming Pamphlet
The pamphlet has been left in a word document so margins can be adjusted, if necessary, for different printers. Printed double sided on the short edge gives an A4 document that can be folded in three for ease of handing out to competitors.


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