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How Lambs are helping Hector’s dolphins

18 September 2013

How Lambs are helping Hector’s dolphins

Collaboration between Wools of New Zealand, Banks Peninsula wool growers and leading international fabric company, Camira Fabrics UK, is having a positive spin off - funding and support for the critically endangered Hector’s dolphin.

Wools of New Zealand, the grower owned sales and marketing company and its grower shareholders are the suppliers of lamb’s wool which meets stringent performance and environmental standards for Camira Fabrics’ growing BlazerTM upholstery fabric range. For every metre sold, a percentage of the sale goes to the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust to benefit Banks Peninsula’s Hector’s dolphins contributed by the growers and Camira in partnership.

Cheryl Kindness, Development Director at Camira Fabrics UK, currently in New Zealand talking to New Zealand strong wool growers as part of a Wools of New Zealand roadshow, says the company is highly supportive of farming practices that are in harmony with the environment.

“BlazerTM fabrics are made from 100% Laneve® wool, Wools of New Zealand’s integrity brand, meaning the wool is natural, sustainably produced, traceable back to its origin and provides assurance of best farming practice.”

Mark Shadbolt, chairman of Wools of New Zealand says, “The relationship with Camira Fabrics has been a win-win across the board, with incremental growth in demand for lamb’s wool over the past three years having rewarded sheep farmers for meeting the specifications of the Laneve® contract.

“The demand for BlazerTM as Camira’s flagship range of fabrics alongside other blends of wool and natural products such as nettle and hemp is growing rapidly globally, providing additional sales opportunities for crossbred wool growers and their annual lamb’s wool production.”

Mr Shadbolt says the link back to the Hector’s Dolphin is a real bonus. “Farmers are passionate not only about their own farms and livestock but also the sustainability of our local resources that we co-exist with.

“With the BlazerTM brand now gaining real traction in international markets, we are able to support the efforts to protect the Hector’s Dolphin via the Whale and Dolphin Trust.”

The Hector’s dolphin is a small dolphin named after Scottish born geologist and explorer Sir James Hector. Endemic to New Zealand waters it is estimated that fewer than 8,000 remain, as a result of by-catch through commercial and recreational fishing nets.

Dr Liz Slooten, an associate professor in the Zoology department at the University of Otago and one of New Zealand’s most eminent marine biologists, has been instrumental in growing awareness of the plight of the dolphin.

“More needs to be done to safeguard the future of this important species so fund raising initiatives like this go a long way to supporting those actions. We are very appreciative of Camira’s and the growers’ support.” she says.

Farmers can find out more detail regarding the Camira contracts and the Wools of New Zealand strategy by attending one of a series of roadshow meetings, which kick off around the country on 23 September in Wellsworth and Cambridge, North Island. More information is available at www.ourwool.co.nz/roadshow

ENDS

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