Monday, 2 April 2012

The New Zealand Diaries: No.9 - Baaaaaaarmy!

If you were to describe one of the delicacies from New Zealand, a food export which rivals all others, one would say lamb. New Zealand Lamb is world famous, there's no doubt about it. Tender, fresh and high quality.

So would it surprise you if I admitted the only bit of lamb I 'had' was a picture taken next to one? Because, wants you see the beautiful, gorgeous animals strolling across the fields, you find it very hard to contemplate eating one!

The New Zealand sheep are cute and cuddly, surrounding towns and villages across the South Island. Sheep are popular with farmers, despite the government drive to focus farming on dairy. From village to village, you'll find at least half a dozen or so farmers tending to their sheep.

Sheep are big business in New Zealand. Besides the meat which is found and highly regarded across the globe, their wool is world renown too. 'Merino wool' is luxurious and highly expensive, a favourite with tourists who visit the island.

Sheep have something of a high status in New Zealand too. Forget your television or radio presenters, the real celebrities are often New Zealand's animals. We recently had 'Happy Feet' the penguin, but before him, came 'Shrek' the Sheep. Shrek's story is known throughout the world; a sheep who, after 6 years in the wild yet never sheared, was found and became the nation's new hero. He met the New Zealand PM, and was even flown to an Iceberg in the Pacific Ocean. Crazy huh?

But it just goes to show how much New Zealand cherishes their fluffy friends, even if it does sound immature and barmy. Yet, it put me off lamb whilst I was there. There was something deeply unsettling about waking up to a field of sheep, and then anticipating a few lamb chops for lunch. No thank you!

Alas, I am not a born again vegetarian. I just appreciate sheep a little more than I used to. So Father Christmas, the only thing on my list this year is a few fluffy lambs for Christmas! BAAAAA.

The second to last photo is of Shrek, courtesy of the Otago Museum

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