Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 1981
Henry was born in Tixall, Staffordshire. When he arrived in Nelson in 1842, he was twenty and already a man, having owned and raced horses in England. He was a pioneer fanner, a man of many parts, having run a butcher's shop, a flour mill, and he was the first to install a threshing machine and to release a stag and a hind in the hills behind Nelson. But racing was his chief love, and after 1851, he established the first New Zealand stud for breeding thoroughbreds. The brig Spray arrived from Sydney in 1851, bringing him 33 horses, among them Sir Hercules and Glaucus, stallions who each founded a great racing line. Other famous Redwood horses were his favourite, Zoe, Strop, Zingara, Peeress, Lurline, Flora McIvor, Frailty and Ladybird. Henry had two sons, Joseph, who rode as his jockey for seven years, and Thomas. In 1863 he moved to Marlborough, but continued to race his horses in Nelson, Canterbury, Otago and Sydney, building an enviable record, his colours, red and black being well known all over Australasia. He was known abroad, and acknowledged in European racing journals as a pioneer of racing in the Antipodes. He was known in France, and imported stock from there later returning some of the progeny.
As a boss, he was known to be stern with his boys and kind to his horses. There is a story of a lad too frightened of him to confess that the horse in his care had a sore foot. After the race the boy was whipped, the horse pampered. He loved his horses but rarely made money. In Sydney he raced one of his favourites, Strop, successfully, then sold him. Later he was not satisfied with the horse's condition, and brought him back at a loss to give him honourable retirement in Nelson.
Redwood won 2 Wellington Cups. 3 Marlborough Cups, 2 Dunedin Cups, 2 Canterbury Cups and 4 Nelson Cups. His horse Ladybird won the first Interdominion Championship in Dunedin, 1863, defeating the favourite Mormon, from Victoria. Mormon was second to Archer in the first Melbourne Cup, 1861. He was known in all his business dealings for his firmness and in his racing for his integrity. All Redwood horses were ridden to win, and win they did through all of 60 years. Redwood died full of honour in 1907.
The Examiner has a note in 1866, "Mr Redwood's stud is outstanding. No gentleman has a finer lot of brood mares south of the Line, except perhaps Mr Fisher's Maribyrnong Stud in Victoria. He has as valuable a stud as could be found in any British colony."page 47
Restoration of the Redwood Stables would be a fitting memorial to an outstanding pioneer of the district and to the Father of the New Zealand Turf.