Priority Listing Red Star

New Zealand: Rare
Elsewhere: Nil

Waipu Goats

A Rare Breed of New Zealand Origin

Waipu goats
Waipu buck and doe in Canterbury

Angora goats were brought into New Zealand in 1867 by both Canterbury and Otago Acclimatisation Societies with Auckland following in 1869. Once established they were farmed mainly for their fibre but also for weed control, particularly blackberry. Some were deliberately crossed with mixed-breed goats and others escaped from domestication and bred with existing flocks of feral goats.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century in Waipu, at the the northern part of the North Island, there was a small flock of feral goats that were probably the remnants of Angora goats farmed in the area since the late nineteenth century. It is believed that there are now very few left in the bush area to which they were originally confined, the main population currently being derived from those captured for domestication by local enthusiast David Brown, and now held by other members of the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand.

It is possible that this small population of Waipu goats is among the purest original Angora stock left anywhere in the world, as most of the Angoras of today have been crossbred to some degree to obtain commercial animals with hybrid vigour.

In 2002 it was thought that there were only seventeen Waipu goats in existence – by mid 2005 this number had fallen to six, including only one buck. Since then more have been found in the wild, and the Rare Breeds Conservation Society is currently working with caregivers to establish satellite herds in both North and South Islands.

Waipu goats
Waipu goats in Canterbury

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