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Rawhiti Goats

Old English goats
"Old English" does from Pongakawa Bush – buck from elsewhere (Photo by David Tuart)

      David Tuart described how he came to own what he identified as Old English goats: “I owned a property in the Pongakawa Bush, central BOP. There were eighty goats, some being Old English and others recent escapees from farms – however I was told the Old English had been there since the Kauri milling days and they did a good job stopping blackberry from invading the bush. All the local people were good conservationists and told me the goats did not harm the bush.

      “Some Government shooters sneaked in and fired 22 shots, resulting in three dead goats and five wounded. I decided to put the Old English goats into a deer unit and cull the rest.” After some difficulties, he got them rounded up, but there was a hole in the fence, and “those goats shot through it like bullets.”

Old English goats
One of the "Old English" does from Pongakawa Bush that was sent to the South Island (Photo by David Tuart)

      He was able to retain “twelve Old English does and one buck, but he had a bullet through his gut that was turning gangrenous. I shot him... I had only one buck I could use but he had a beard and slightly curled horns. I looked through a spotting scope at the goats that escaped, not one buck had straight horns. I went through all the goats in the area. Not one Old English buck. I would have to up-grade from Casanova [breed not specified]. He became a great pet and I hand fed him every day, he produced two batches of kids each year, but he did not throw a buck with straight horns.

      “Soon I had sixty does and most of them looked pure Old English. I had to sell the farm and could not keep the goats so I sent them to Rare Breeds Society members in the South Island.”

      In general appearance they resemble many of the groups of feral goats found in New Zealand, Australia, North America and Europe. Possibly because there was no evidence that these were actually Old English goats, the South Island care givers initially called them “Tuart” goats (after David Tuart) but from about 2005 they have been distributed elsewhere and have been renamed “Rawhiti” goats – Rawhiti mistakenly thought to be the Maori equivalent of the name David [= Rāwiri].

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