A freshly-shorn sheep with pastel-coloured wool is on the loose in central Auckland after escaping from a rural-themed beer launch in Ponsonby.

The animal was getting a makeover from shearer Neil Fagan - nephew of shearing legend Sir David Fagan - and Auckland hair stylist Stephen Marr at a launch event for a new Moa beer last night when it escaped.

Moa Brewing Company chief executive Geoff Ross told the Herald the sheep - one of three from a Te Kuiti farm that was brought up to Auckland for the party at Moa's Ponsonby office, on Richmond Rd.

Moa had hoped the beer launch would help close a perceived gap between New Zealand's rural and urban communities - and the runaway sheep has definitely done that in its own way.


"It wandered off. Luckily we're in a nice little street, so one of our neighbours is going to come home to a sheep in their backyard."

Staff from the company were tonight searching for the sheep, going door to door to see if any nearby residents had spotted the sheep, or offered it refuge from big city life.

Before the great escape, Fagan and Marr were giving the sheep new dos - inspired by the latest hair trends including pastel colours - as part of the party for the launch of Moa's Station IPA brew.

Ross said the stunt was about showing the so-called "rural-urban divide" was a myth by bringing together two very different Kiwis at the top of their fields.

Fagan sheared the sheep with direction from Marr on how to make them "on trend" with the latest city fashions.

"Some people are trying to paint a picture that there is a divide but in our view there isn't," Ross said. "Most New Zealanders, if not rural, are only a generation or two from their rural roots anyway. So in our view New Zealanders are pretty close to being rural, even if they're not on a farm."

About 100 people, many of whom wore checked shirts to match the rural theme, gathered among the hay bales set up at the venue to watch the animals' makeover.

Fagan said he enjoyed the opportunity "to slow the clippers down for once and do something a little more creative, than the tradition number 1 buzz cut. Worth a trip to the city for".


The idea for Moa's new brew arose from a trip by a group of Moa staff to a South Island high country shearing station.