Trophy Rams

For more information e-mail   Steuart   of NZ Hunting Info Ltd

These are three excellent rams.
three arapawa rams
An exciting group of rams.
a fine group of rams

Arapawa Sheep: The Arapawa Ram has become a popular trophy among Americans visiting New Zealand. These are a sheep that have survived in isolation for over 130 years on Arapawa Island at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. The Arapawa wild sheep are probably descendents of Merino that were introduced from Australia to Arapawa Island in 1867. But it’s also possible that they originate from stock left even earlier by whalers.

Arapawas are most commonly black but may have white points, and on rare occasions can be pure white. Some animals may be spotted all over and are known as 'cocktail' Arapawas. Rams are popular with hunters because their spiralled horns can grow very long.

Other Wild Sheep: In New Zealand, the definition of a feral or wild sheep breed is still a little woolly. To be classified as a true wild sheep population the flock needs to be self-sustaining and needs to originate from breeds introduced in the 1800s or early 1900s. The original stock for these feral flocks came from a variety of breeds that included Guadalupe, White, French, Hebridean, Booroola, and Bengal merinos. The flocks that still meet these criteria are of interest to the Rare Breeds Society. Unfortunately verification of the true founder stock is almost impossible and some stories about their ancestry are probably more folklore than fact. Genetic testing may one day provide some answers.

Over the last hundred years, modern sheep breeds have contaminated some of the mainland feral sheep flocks. My observations are that wild sheep and domestic sheep will mix but not readily. Of the recognised wild flocks four survive on offshore islands and there are about nine on the mainland. The Rare Breeds Society only recognises the mainland flocks listed below.

Rare Woodstock rams on public land.
three woodstock rams
A Wild Woodstock Ram.
ram peering over a bush

The number of feral sheep in each of the wild flocks has been greatly reduced over the last thirty years. For example, of the mainland breeds, the Waianakarua (North Otago) flock has been reduced to several hundred within the Waianakarua reserve. Similarly the Hokonui flock, Diggers Hill Clarence Reserve and Raglan flocks have been severely reduced in size.

Remaining Wild Sheep Flocks
Mohaka River        Hawkes Bay
Omahaki Ngaruroro River        Hawkes Bay
Raglan        Raglan Harbour
Clarence Reserve Clarence River.        Canterbury
Woodstock (Waimakariri River)        Canterbury
Waipori Gorge        Otago
Herbert (Waianakarua River)        North Otago
Diggers Hill (Takitimu)        Southland
Hokonui Hills        Southland
Also: Campbell Island, Chatham Island , Pitt Island, Stewart Island.


For more information e-mail   Steuart   of NZ Hunting Info Ltd