A Local Legend
The patron of the Northland hunt, Mr Lou Thompson is believed to be the oldest hunt member in New Zealand, still actively jumping and enjoying the thrills of the chase.
Lou celebrated his 90th birthday during a special Hunt meet at Kai-Iwi Lakes in July 2013. This televised on TV1 news programme "Seven Sharp" and attracted hunters far and wide within New Zealand.
You can still view the archived segment "On the hunt with a Northland Legend" here.
Presenter Michael Holland has promised to return for Lou's 95th Birthday in 2018.
The Master is ultimately responsible for the running of the Hunt, the Kennels and the hunt day. The Master's word is final on all occasions.
The Master will have approved the fixture card and on hunt day will decide, in consultation with the Huntsman, how country will be drawn and when the Huntsman will blow for home.
The responsibility of the hunt day rests with the Master whose role, along with the Huntsman, is to provide the best sport possible and to maintain the well-being of the livestock and the property hunted.
The Master ensures the proven and practical traditions of hunting in regard to procedure and etiquette are adhered to. For example riders are expected to attend the breakfast at the conclusion of the day to be present when the Master thanks the ever generous Landowners for sharing their country and making the sport possible.
The Field Masters
The Field Masters are responsible for observing the rules and manners in the field on the hunt day.
The Huntsman is employed by or contracted to the Hunt, cares for the hounds and maintains the Kennels and the Hunt property. The Huntsman is responsible for the welfare of the hounds at the Kennels including their exercise program prior to the season ensuring they are fit and ready to hunt. The Huntsman controls them in the field on hunt day, using verbal and horn commands to achieve this.
The Committee is responsible for the affairs and general business of the Hunt.
The Northland Hunt Committee consists of a Patron, President, Vice President, Master (or Joint Masters), Deputy Master, Treasurer, Secretary, and Committee members.
The Secretary is responsible to the Master for the day to day administration of the Hunt, communicating with members, attending to correspondence, paying accounts, subscriptions etc. Many Hunts have a Field Secretary whose duties vary from Hunt to Hunt which may include collecting subscriptions, caps and in some cases is responsible for certain properties.
There are normally two "Whippers-In" on a hunt day and their role is to assist the Huntsman to control the hounds. This is achieved by riding the outskirts of the hounds and being ready to move the pack on in the direction desired by the Huntsman. The Huntsman conveys his wishes to the hounds and thus the Whippers-In by voice and horn commands.
The Whippers-In are responsible only to the Huntsman and Master.
The Field consists of the mounted followers and is controlled by the Master who rides at the head of the Field with the Huntsman and Whippers-In in front. The Master's role on the day is to keep the Field in touch with hounds at the same time ensuring the Huntsman has room to work them and not have the hounds "over-run" by the Field.
The Master is responsible for the field's care of the property by avoiding areas of concern to the Landowner.