Monday, June 6, 2011



Many times we have said, "Only in America!" Today we have a story that could only come from God Zone aka NZ

About 7 years ago a merino sheep was found in the South Island high country. That's not news. Merino sheep are farmed in the area. This particular animal had escaped the muster for six years by hiding out in a mountain cave. The shepherd who found him thought he'd discovered a monster. The sheep was brought in and more than 27 kilo or 60 pounds of wool was removed in front of TV cameras with hand clippers. What a job! He was given a red coat to keep him warm after losing his fleece.

The animal, a wether, that is a castrated male sheep, was named Shrek. Despite his years of isolation he proved to be extremely placid and very good around children. He helped put Bendigo Station on the map and became world famous for his extraordinary photo shoots and charity work. He was visited by VIPs and celebrities including Helen Clark when she was Prime Minister.

The children at tiny Tarras School wrote a book and he was always there for fundraisers.

Owner John Perriam has also written two books with royalties going to the Cure Kids Charity. I understand Shrek raised tens of thousands of dollars for Cure Kids. His legacy will linger as long as the story of Shrek the Sheep fascinates.

A publicity stunt. Shearing Shrek on an iceberg off the southern coast

The wool industry reckons his pictures were worth over 100 million dollars to our international export trade. There was also a spin off to tourism.

Today there were emotional interviews with John Perriam and Josie Spillane from Cure Kids. The aging sheep was euthanased this morning as he was beginning to suffer pain. He even had his own care-giver over the last few weeks. Shrek was almost 17 years old, at least 90 in human terms.

Shrek has only been pushed off the top of our national headline news by two substantial earthquakes, a 5.5 and 4.5 near Christchurch today There have been about 19 other quakes today on the same fault as well. It's been a big news day. The first weekend in June is a three day holiday to mark the Queen's Birthday. It is also the time for a variety of honours some from the Crown others purely New Zealand. There are 2 new Dames, 4 Knights and a huge list of others including community/social helpers, a gossip columnist and various sports people.


View Larger Map

The little town of Tarras is marked if you click to enlarge the map.

I should have photos of Tarras but I can't find them. We stopped for coffee enjoying it beside a lovely fire in the country Cafe. We had come from Wanaka and were on our way somewhere. We parked the bus in a quiet spot nearby and listened to bird scarers from early morning. There were extensive vineyards on the rugged, dry hills. Had we turned left we would have been on a route toward Mt. Cook, our highest mountain. We turned south east, stopping at Lawrence and Kaitangata near Balclutha in Southland.