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Black sheep the centre of attention

13 August 2004

Black sheep the centre of attention

“Black” sheep come in a great variety of shades and patterns. Photo: Marion Partridge

LIVE sheep in the centre of Christchurch will be one of the features of the Sixth World Congress on Coloured Sheep when the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association of New Zealand hosts the event in November.

Breeders, crafts people and enthusiasts of naturally coloured sheep will be heading here to take part in a week of seminars, tours, workshops, entertainment and socialising plus pre and post congress tours.

Mary Knox of the congress committee and a member of the Manawatu Branch of the Association said that there has already been interest from around the world,including Australia, Canada, the USA, the UK, Japan, Brazil, Algeria, Zimbabawe and the Falklands.

The congress itself will begin with a visit to the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show, the largest and oldest A and P Show in New Zealand. It has been held annually since 1862.

In subsequent days papers will be presented by experts on sheep and wool, and there will also be practical sessions. They will cover the different sheep breeds and the uses of their wool, wool quality and a look at successful enterprises using coloured wool.

Putting black and coloured sheep in a marquee on the lawn at the Chateau on the Park Hotel, the congress base, will demonstrate the many and varied breeds and colours.

Wool crafters can take advantage of optional workshops on craft-related topics with both international and New Zealand tutors such as Margaret Stove, Nola Fournier and Carol Rhoades.

A farm day tour will take participants to visit sheep flocks and other types of farms on the Canterbury plains and foothills giving hem a glimpse of the wonderful mountain scenery in that part of the country.

Competition classes include hand spun yarn, garments, and fibre arts. And for art of another kind there is a photographic competition with sheep as the main subject. Sheepskins and fleeces will also vie for honours. Of course there can only be New Zealand fleeces involved as there are stringent biosecurity regulations about bringing in wool from overseas.

A pre congress tour will take visitors from Auckland through the centre of the North Island taking in the usual tourist spots, but also giving them a chance to visit several farms and smallholdings and of course to meet some breeders of coloured sheep.

A post congress tour provides five days in the bottom half of the South Island taking in mountains, lakes and glaciers as well as more sheep farming properties.

For more information check out the website or contact Mary Knox at


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