It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we advise the passing of a truly remarkable man in Peter (Pete) Morris MNZM. The ESNZ Honorary Life Member passed away peacefully on March 30, 2020.
Peter Morris was one of the most respected technical officials across all Equestrian disciplines in New Zealand; although he was best known in recent years for his dedication to Showjumping.
He officiated in the sport at the highest level for over 40 years; is admired by riders, officials and other volunteers alike for his calm approach and has perhaps the best understanding of anybody of the rules of our sport.
He grew up in the Wairarapa and rode from a very young age, competing in riding classes and progressing through to Pony Club where he gained his B Certificate in 1954, before becoming the first winner of the Dorothy Campbell Cup in 1955.
He last competed when he was 21 years old and gave up riding shortly after, to turn his interest to the rules of the sport and to start a long and prestigious judging career including becoming the youngest Showjumping judge ever to gain full international status.
His judging career has saw him officiate in many countries across the globe with a favourite moment being his invitation to judge the water jump at the first Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Canada in 1990 in the presence of HM The Queen.
What was less known, is that Peter started his officiating career as a Dressage judge and was for many years a chief Eventing cross‐country judge. He was responsible, as Chairman of the then NZ Equestrian Federation’s rules committee in the early 80s, for all rules of the sport including what we would now call general regulations and discipline rules.
He served on the ESNZ Showjumping Committee for many years, and as Chairman from 1992‐96. He served on the Showjumping technical committee and helped to deliver the annual judging seminars around the country refreshing, teaching and mentoring current Showjumping judges as well as bringing on the next generation. He has been president of the ground jury at every major NZ showjumping show, including the Horse of the Year Show, for many years.
He was renowned for his quietly spoken and considered approach, his calmness under pressure, his willingness to share his knowledge, his unfailingly high standards and infectious humour.
Above all, he has throughout his judging career been a friend to generations of riders, helping them to understand, and occasionally to comply with, the rules.
In March 2014, at the Horse of the Year Show Hall of Fame Gala Dinner, Peter was awarded the Pilmer Plate, ESNZ’s Volunteer Lifetime Award which is awarded to a volunteer or technical official who, throughout his or her career, has exemplified the highest ideals of good sportsmanship through commitment, dedication and the pursuit of excellence in the service of ESNZ.
In 2015 he was made a member of the New Zealand order of merit for this services to equestrian Sports and lastly in 2019 he was made an Honorary Life Member of Equestrian Sports NZ.
It was truly a pleasure to ever be in Pete’s company and he will be deeply missed by all those who lives he touched.
Our condolences and thoughts are with Shirley and wider Morris family during this sad time.
A private cremation was held for Peter at 9am March 31, 2020.