Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sheep May Safely Graze

New Zealand often bears the brunt of “sheep jokes” from its neighbour across the Tasman… even though Oz has more sheep than koiwoiland does.
The weekend passing of Shrek may generate a few more jokes. But before the Ockers wet themselves over some puerile punchline, let them look at the value of this one particular sheep...
Shrek - a merino wether (that’s a male sheep with his bits snipped!) - shot to international fame when found in 2004, in a cave on the Bendigo Station in Otago. He'd avoided capture – and therefore shearing - for most of his eight years, so he looked a very wild sight indeed. At the time, he carried 27kg of fleece (enough to make 20 large men’s suits!) compared with the average of 4.5kg for a merino. Proceeds from his fleece were donated to Cure Kids.
Shrek became quite a celebrity, flying in planes, visiting sick children in hospital, meeting the prime minister, and was shorn on live tv on an iceberg floating off the coast of Dunedin. He was the subject of bestselling books, and made numerous tv and public appearances. He was even credited with saving a rural school from closure.  Shrek was put down last weekend on a vet's advice, at the venerable age of 17 – almost twice his life expectancy.
I agree it may seem odd to outsiders that one sheep can make such headlines… but it’s been estimated the worldwide publicity he gained was worth $100 million for NZ’s export industry!
Shrek's ashes may be spread on Mt Cook, NZ’s highest mountain… a fitting resting place for NZ’s most famous woolly wonder.
PS: 08 June 2011 - Shrek's death generates as much interest as his discovery!
PS: 10 June 2011 - Shrek may yet end up in a museum!

1 comment:

S.M. said...

Just read your blog about Shrek & thought I'd fill you in on a little bit of trivia.
Bendigo Station in Central Otago is in the Tarras district where I was born & raised. That small rural school Shrek saved from closure was my primary school & I have many fond memories from my days there & friendships I still treasure. I have ventured back there regularly. I remember Shrek's "dad" John Perriam from my childhood days & Shrek's "nana" was my piano teacher. When I attended the Tarras school & district reunion last October we all got to see the benefits Shrek had brought to the school from proceeds of the book written by the Tarras school kids etc. I must admit, I do feel quite sad about the passing of a stubborn old merino sheep.