11/11/1928 – 5/11/2017
Obituary by Gerald Hargreaves, Kakahu Angus, New Zealand
The passing of Frank Wilding brings the end to the life of a most influential person in the New Zealand Angus Breed. Many younger people will not realize what a giant he has been for the breed, an innovator, a man with vision and a leader in the industry.
As with any man of vision, he was not a traditionalist.
He changed the way Angus cattle are bred.
He brought back from his overseas travel the idea of performance recording, and so became the first in New Zealand to weigh calves at birth, and then at weaning – ‘just to be a little more scientific about these things’.
In 1962, he started heifer mating – the first in New Zealand and not without a huge amount of criticism.
In 1967 he held the first South Island on farm auction.
In 1969 saw Te Mania send a shipment of two bulls to USA, another first. In 1971 Frank established the Te Mania stud in Australia with his sister Mary and his brother in law Andrew Gubbins. It was Frank who was instrumental in bringing the Australian recording system Breedplan into New Zealand in the early 180’s. They were the first herd to use the system so that it could be cross referenced with Te Mania Australia.
In 1975 Frank exported a bull and ten heifers back to Scotland, a sign of the respect from the old country for his breeding principals.
In 1978 saw Cord Cattle Genetics in Western Australia perform the first Angus embryo transplants in Australasia – using Te Mania heifers.
During the 1970’s Frank served on the Angus Council and was on the committee for the 1981 World Angus Forum.
As a man with forthright manner and advanced methods he was an influential member of the association.
He was a champion for conservation and the preservation of the native bush and his coast. He set up the award winning Coastal Conway Landcare Group, which he was involved with for many yhears – bringing awareness amongst the locals.
When I started breeding Angus on my own account I followed Frank around closely to gain as much knowledge as I could, and to develop clear breeding principles. He was generous in sharing that knowledge.
Two special things I remember from over forty years ago.
One – He was a hell of a pourer of strong whiskeys and gins! It was difficult to leave Te Mania without feeling the effects!
He and Jo were most hospitable and brilliant entertainers of people from all over the world.
Two – I will always remember going around the cows with Frank. Not into showing cattle, he was great with all animals and delighted in demonstrating to us how he could scratch the girls’ heads in the open paddock.
In 1988 he did what many farmers find difficult to do. He stepped aside to let Tim take over.
‘You take over and I won’t interfere.’ With that he went off to build his own house, Rafa.
Frank – you will always be missed but not forgotten, standing by the bbq on sale day – with that dry sense of humour and twinkle in your eye.