Dannevirke: Sale brings exotic touch to NZ staple

By Christine McKay

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These exotic sheep on Brian Hales' Wimbledon farm offer plenty of opportunities for farmers of the exotic.
These exotic sheep on Brian Hales' Wimbledon farm offer plenty of opportunities for farmers of the exotic.

Sunday's exotic sheep sale at Wimbledon will be a ground-breaker - and a great opportunity for buyers, organiser Brian Hales says.

"This is the first of these sales in the North Island and it allows people to see the stock and make those buying decisions for themselves," Mr Hales told the Dannevirke News.

"There are a lot of people farming exotic sheep and buying at this sale is an ideal opportunity to perfect their farming business."

Exotic sheep breeds will be on sale at the first North Island event of its kind at Brian Hales' Wimbledon property this Sunday.
Exotic sheep breeds will be on sale at the first North Island event of its kind at Brian Hales' Wimbledon property this Sunday.

The sale offers the opportunity for farmers to acquire sheep to develop a particular meat or fibre which meets their needs, with several rare breeds on offer - all with unique characteristics and ancient cultural backgrounds.

"The real value of the day is to help give people the chance to purchase stock which will allow them to further pursue their particular farming ideology," Mr Hales said.

However, Mr Hales said because this is the first of this type of sale he's not expecting great things.

"But if I stick with it ... "

The 25 sheep on offer include Pitt and Arapawa island ewes, along with a pen of Karakul ewes and one ram.

The Karakuls are the oldest breed of sheep known to man and are farmed by nomadic herdsmen in the desert regions of Central Asia.

They produce all the meat, milk and fibre needs for a subsistence lifestyle for the herders and their families.

Karakul wool is particularly coarse, felts well and has been used as the basis for slippers in Mr Hales' Slippers in Schools project.

"It is rare for these sheep to be available on the New Zealand market," Mr Hales said.

Two Damara rams from Egypt will also be on offer.

"These cross magnificently with Wiltshire and Dorper to produce the new concept sheep, the meatmaster, now being bred extensively in Australia specifically for the Asian markets where it rivals beef as a grilling meat.

"The meat has an outstanding taste and virtually no smell while cooking," Mr Hales said.

Gotlands, the sheep of Dannevirke which originate from Scandinavia, will also be on sale.

Their soft wool does not have the usual itch factor, and is ideal for spinning.

"The Gotlands are my pride and joy," Mr Hales said.

A young Asif ram will also be offered from the milking collection.

"There will be six different breeds of sheep up for sale and they will all be sold individually or in small lots," Mr Hales said.

"Everything will be held under cover because, true to its form out here, it's likely to rain," he said.

However, rain certainly won't dampen Mr Hales' spirits.

He's passionate about his exotic breeds and the potential they have.

Exotic sheep sale:

* Sunday, February 21, from 11am to 2pm at the Hales family woolshed, Wimbledon.

* The auction will be on a blackboard system from 11am until 1.30pm. Bids can be placed at any time during this period.

* Assistance transporting stock from the sale may be available by contacting Brian Hales.

* All stock will be accompanied by an animal health declaration form.

* Crafts using exotic wools will be on display and for sale in the woolshed. Space is still available for anyone wishing to exhibit or sell their works.

* Wool from the exotic sheep will be on display and experts available to advise on how it can be used.

* Greasy and carded wool from a variety of breeds can be purchased.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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