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THE NEW ZEALAND ALPACA INDUSTRY

The first alpacas to arrive into New Zealand came from England in 1986. From 1987 through to 1990 there were five large imports from Chile. Even the Australians had to import their first alpacas from Chile via New Zealand. It was not until 1989 that protocols were set up between Australia and Chile. Alan Hamilton and Roger Haldane had alpaca herds in New Zealand for several years before they could export them to Australia. The 1987 share crash took a heavy toll on the fledgling New Zealand industry and many of the foundation stock to be found in New Zealand finished up in Australia, Canada and the USA.

Ironically in recent years New Zealand alpaca breeders have been importing from the USA, Australia and Peru. Today New Zealand can boast some wonderful genetics from the Highlander and Hemingway lines and recent imports from Australia have introduced many more top line genetics.

The first alpaca and llama association was established in 1986 but in 2001, the association changed its name to Alpaca Association New Zealand (AANZ) and llamas were excluded from the association. Today there are 275 registered breeders and approximately 5000 alpacas throughout New Zealand.

There are eight members on the board of the association plus six sub committees representing: NZ Registry, shows, promotion and marketing, education and health, breed development and fibre. In addition there is a North Island and a South Island regional committee. Alpacas are registered in New Zealand through the association secretary with the International Alpaca Registry based in Australia.

The association produces each year, three 37 page glossy magazines, a tabloid and a bi-monthly newsletter. The association has its own web site www.alpaca.org.nz plus there are many field days, seminars and industry gatherings capped off with the annual conference. The alpaca industry is perhaps best promoted through the A & P shows throughout New Zealand- there are now eight shows where there is alpaca judging. http://www.alpaca.org.nz/

In the last two years there has been increasing interest in the suri including some imports of stud quality stock from Peru – there are perhaps 50 suri in New Zealand. Breeders today are more aware of the necessity to present good clean fibre for processing and are better educated in preparing the fleece. Alpaca fibre is being used for the production of fashion garments and duvet covers and a number of breeders are now exporting to Australia and other overseas markets. It is very pleasing to note the increasing number of breeders producing finished product from their alpaca fleeces.

Recently the association was granted a sustainable farming fund from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The title of our application was ‘Alpacas – making the transition from a cottage industry to a sustainable pastoral livestock option’. The project’s goal is to achieve the following:

* Greatly improved management practices in place.

* Increased fibre volumes and significantly more in desired quality ranges.

* Further enhancement of information resources.

* A considerable increase in numbers of alpacas farmed.

* A high profile of alpaca and alpaca farming in the community.

Kit Johnson is a board member of the Alpaca Association New Zealand and chairman of the Promotion and Marketing sub committee. My wife Sheryl and I own Silverstream Alpaca Stud located 20 kilometres north of Christchurch in the South Island.

Kit & Sheryl Johnson. Silverstream Alpaca Stud, 68 Moodys Road, RD 2 Kaiapoi, Canterbury

New Zealand Phone 64 3 327 3020 Fax 64 3 3599 058

Email info@alpaca-stud.co mailto:info@alpaca-stud.co

Web www.alpaca-stud.com http://www.alpaca-stud.com/




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