The Mighty Merino

“The Reverend Samuel Marsden and his entourage coming ashore at the Bay of Islands on 19 December 1814. On this, his first trip across the Tasman, Marsden not only introduced religion to the Maori, but also brought eight Merinos, along with other animals … Mana Island, some seven kilometres off shore from the entrance to Porirua harbour, near Wellington, was once a popular spot for whaling ships, which called in to stock up on potatoes and pigs supplied by Maori agriculturalists on the mainland. In 1834 Scotsman John Bell Wright arrived at the island, bringing cattle and some 100 Merino sheep from Sydney … Thanks to its wool and ability to adapt to local conditions, the Merino quickly became New Zealand’s dominant sheep.”

– Richard Wolfe, A Short History of Sheep in New Zealand

I’m looking forward to visiting the Pataka Museum in Porirua on Sunday for the Future of Sheep Farming in NZ forum:

“It is time to talk sheep! We have gathered some highly experienced, valued and knowledgeable experts who will be discussing the future of NZ’s sheep farming. Richard Wolfe, author of the A Short History of Sheep in NZ will be chairing this forum with guests including Theresa Gattung – Chairperson of Wool Partners International and David Burt – Policy Advisor of Meat and Fibre for Federated Farmers of NZ and other sheep experts.”

and SHEEP – NZ Icons in Art exhibition:

“Recognising and celebrating the contribution that SHEEP have made to this nation’s development, these icons are seen as an integral part of New Zealand’s cultural heritage. At a time when the dairy industry is flourishing, earning record prices and taking over pastoral farms, SHEEP: NZ Icons in Art celebrates the contribution that SHEEP have made to this nation’s development.”

Reflections to follow.