Bruce McKenzie is proud of his Queen's Birthday Honour, even though rumour has it, he thought it was a joke at first.

The Wairarapa beef breeder was awarded Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to the cattle industry.

READ MORE:
Queen's Birthday Honours: The full list

"It's a great honour to receive this. I think agriculture is going to be a part of the future in New Zealand and I feel very proud to have this honour" he told The Country's Jamie Mackay.

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McKenzie runs the 113-year old Maungahina Hereford Stud in Masterton with his son.

He has been at the forefront of genetic development in the primary sector in New Zealand over the last 50 years, and has embraced technological advancements in the industry.

"We've been breeding Herefords for 113 years but I've always [had] an out and out passion for breeding cattle" he said.

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McKenzie also pioneered the importation of different livestock breeds, as well as material such as frozen embryos and semen, with the aim of improving herd quality in New Zealand. He refined the Charolais breed, creating the Red Charolais.

In the last decade McKenzie was responsible for introducing a new cattle breed, Speckle Park, into New Zealand, which had proved valuable in terms of quality and yield increase.

"The Speckle Park's a breed that I think has got a huge future in New Zealand. It has been going exceptionally strong in Australia as well, having brought these in from Canada".

The effects of the Maungahina Stud genetics over New Zealand meat production continued to contribute to millions of dollars of value both in meat production and the value of female genetics.

As well as this, McKenzie has been a leading cattle judge at most major events in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom and was recently the first non-Angus breeder to be asked to judge at Australia's National Angus Sale.

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When asked why he never went into the elite Angus breeding McKenzie told Mackay it was "a matter of opinion" which breed was best.

"I believe the Hereford is".

McKenzie was involved in many coaching schools organised by the Royal Agriculture Society of New Zealand and was also involved in importing fallow deer genetics from Europe in the early 1980s.