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Wool

Source: New Zealand Official Yearbook 2000. Please note, this information may now be out of date.

New Zealand sheep are largely dual purpose wool/meat animals and their wool is predominantly strong. New Zealand is the world's largest producer of crossbred (strong) wool.

This type of wool is used mainly in interior textiles such as carpets, upholstery, furnishings, bedding and rugs. It is also used for handknitting yarn, in knitwear and in blankets.

It is estimated that 34 percent of New Zealand wool is used in machine-made carpets, 12 percent in hand-knotted and hand-tufted carpets, 44 percent in apparel, and 10 percent in other uses, primarily upholstery and bedding.

Net domestic consumption of wool in New Zealand is among the highest in the world on a per head basis.

The New Zealand Wool Board

The New Zealand Wool Board promotes the use of New Zealand wool in new and existing markets; encourages efficiencies in the preparation, handling, distribution, shipping and selling of wool; and promotes and undertakes research and development work into wool, sheep and wool products. Sheep farmers fund the New Zealand Wool Board, each paying five percent of their annual wool sales.

Wool Production Technology Ltd (WoolPro) works to improve wool quality, sheep production and on-farm efficiency. It funds new wool production technologies that provide New Zealand wool growers with information to help them improve or fine tune their wool production, and to meet customer demands. WoolPro runs wool harvesting training programmes, and the Fernmark Quality Programme, which is the only programme in the world that assures quality throughout the wool production and supply pipeline.

Wools of New Zealand

Wools of New Zealand is the marketing arm of the New Zealand Wool Board. It promotes the use of New Zealand wool in existing and new markets; encourages efficiencies in the preparation, handling, distribution, shipping and selling of wool; and promotes and undertakes research and development work into wool, sheep and wool products. The board is entirely funded by woolgrowers.

Markets for wool

The most common way of selling wool in New Zealand is by open auction: 45 percent was sold this way in 1998–99. The auction season runs from July to the following June. Sales are held at two centres, Napier and Christchurch, and attract buyers representing all the main wool importing countries. Growers can also sell their wool to merchants privately in New Zealand (41 percent of sales in 1998–99).

Around 90 percent of the New Zealand clip leaves the country in a greasy, scoured, or slipe form. Seventy-seven percent of exports are scoured. Of the 10 percent of the clip processed in New Zealand, roughly half is exported in product form, mainly as carpet yarn, carpets or knitted jerseys.

During 1998–99 the largest importers of New Zealand wool were China, the United Kingdom, India, Germany and Belgium.

Total export earnings from wool products were $285 million in 1998–99.

Graph, Wool Exports 1998-99

Other information

Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand

Quick Facts - Industries

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