[mah-aw-ree, -oh-ree, mou-ree, mah-ree]
Maori, people of New Zealand and the Cook Islands, believed to have migrated in early times from other islands of Polynesia. Maori tradition asserts that seven canoes brought their ancestors to New Zealand. The Maori language is closely related to Tahitian, Hawaiian, and other languages spoken on the islands lying E of Samoa in the South Pacific. In the early 19th cent., at the end of their war against European encroachment, the Maori in New Zealand numbered about 100,000. The number later dwindled to 40,000. Largely through the efforts of their own chiefs, however, they have reemerged as an economically self-sufficient minority in New Zealand, and their population today is more than 500,000. The Maori maintain their own cultural identity apart from the general New Zealand community, while at the same time sending representatives to parliament and participating, at least to some degree, in most national issues. Since the 1970s the Maoris and the government have negotiated several settlements of land and other claims lodged by various Maori groups; the claims date back to the 19th cent., when land was seized by British colonists in violation of the Treaty of Waitangi. See also New Zealand.

See A. J. Metge, Maoris of New Zealand (1967); W. Forman and D. Lewis, The Maori (1984); J. Irwin, An Introduction to Maori Religion (1984).

Maori’s Idol faces a tough task to win as an early three year old against older horses said the morning newspaper when he was to make his first race start. His task became even tougher when he galloped twice and conceded his rivals up to 250m but he was still able to win. He was on his way to a career where he would win 40 of 46 starts and trot Australia’s first 2:00 mile.

Maori’s Idol
Sire: Ike Frost
Dam: Maori Miss
Sire of Dam: Grand Monarch
Sex: Stallion
Colour: Bay
Foaled: 1972
Country: Australia
Breeder: R Healy
Record: 46:40-3-1, 1:59.3
First raced: 1975
Last raced: 1981
Prizemoney: $98821

That Maori’s Idol’s should win his first race wasn’t a great surprise since his dam Maori Miss had won a heat of the 1966 Interdominion Trotting Championship and his older brother Maori Monarch had won the Victoria Trotters Derby in 1975. The manner of his win was. ‘This horse is a freak by and standard’ said driver Bryan Healy of Marnoo, near Stawell after his first race at Adelaide’s Globe Derby Park. Healy then added ‘someone has to keep Court Jester honest’ when considering the possibility of his three year old colt racing in the Interdominion later that season.

Maori’s Idol raced only once again that season for a win at Kilmore in Victoria before a long spell. In 1976/77 Maori’s Idol quickly worked his way through the classes winning 11 of his 13 starts. After winning his first 9 trips to the racetrack he was defeated from a 60m handicap in Bendigo and then again against pacers. He made a winning debut at Moonee Valley on July 9, 1977.

1977/78 was Maori’s Idol’s best season. Early in the season he won at Moonee Valley from a 60m handicap and he won the Summer Wine FFA in 1:59.3 becoming the first ever trotter in Australia to break two minutes in either a race or time trial. He travelled to Adelaide and won three races during the Australian Pacing Championship carnival including a win by 60 metres. He also won the Hamilton Cup against pacers by 50 metres. The Interdominion was held at Moonee Valley that season giving Maori’s Idol the ideal opportunity to win the race. Although conceding handicaps of 25m and 30m he was still able to win both his heats. On the second night he equalled Lucky Creed’s record of 24 consecutive wins by an Australian pacer or trotter and he was unbeaten in 12 starts at Moonee Valley. Starting as the 4/9 favourite in the final he was too far from the leaders in the last lap and was only able to finish third to fellow Victorian Derby Royale. At the end of the season he travelled to Brisbane for the Sir Clive Uhr Championship (now Queensland Pacing Championship) against pacers. After winning both his heats Maori’s Idol finished second behind Rip Van Winkle in the final. At the end of the season he was voted Australian Harness Horse of the Year, the first and only time that a trotter has received the award. He held Australian records at six different distances from standing starts and two mobile start records.

Maori’s Idol began the 1978/79 with the same form he had raced with the previous season. He won four of his first five starts, his only defeat came in the Kilmore Cup against pacers. His wins included the Dullard Cup from a 40m handicap on November 25 and the Freestone Cup. Disaster struck when he was badly injured and didn’t finish in a race at Moonee Valley on December 9, 1978. It was his only defeat in 8 mobile start races against pacers.

On the 29th of August 1981, Maori’s Idol made his final start defeating the good New Zealand trotter Cal Brydon despite conceding a handicap of up to 40m to his rivals. He was retired to stud and has sired 182 winners up to the end of the 2004/05 season including Australasian Trotters Championship winner Digger's Idol. In his career Maori’s Idol won 31 of his 34 starts against trotters and 16 of his 18 starts at Moonee Valley. He was the only trotter voted in the top 10 Australian post-war standardbreds in a poll conducted by Australian Standardbred magazine, and Harness Racing International stated that he would win the vote as Australia’s best trotter in any poll when they named their greatest ever trotters.

Maori's Idol died in October 2006.

Major honours

  • 1978 Dullard Cup
  • Australia’s first 2:00 trotter
  • 1977/78 Australian Harness Horse of the Year
  • 1977/78 Australian Trotter of the Year
  • 1978/79 Australian Trotter of the Year
  • Leading Australian Trotting Sire four times


  1. Markham, D (1975), Rewards for wet weather punters, The Advertiser, October 25, 1975
  2. Australian Harness Racing Greats, Stanza Productions
  3. Markham, D (1975) Startling first race leaves punters gasping, The Advertiser, October 27, 1975
  5. Australian Trotting Stud Book, Vol 36, Australian Harness Racing Council
  6. Australian Standardbred, It's Poppy, December 1991, The Australian Standardbred Pty Ltd
  7. Harness Racing International, Hall of Fame Gallery, November/December 2001, Ellikon Press

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