Canterbury's rare breeds auction marks 25 years of helping to
preserve heritage breeds.
The Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand
Canterbury section will hold its 25th annual rare breeds
auction at Willowbank Wildlife Park, near Christchurch, this
Sunday, March 9, with a heritage lifestyle theme.
"The society has been running for 30 years and the auction
was started 25 years ago. We only missed one year, because of
the earthquakes," auction co-ordinator Blair Culling said.
"The auction raises money for the work we do to preserve the
rare breeds, including the heritage breeds which were the
mainstay of farming in New Zealand in years gone past."
The auction helped fund the Gene Bank, which has been
developed in partnership with North Canterbury company Xcell
Breeding Services, funding genetic research around the
Auckland Islands, rescuing breeds like kune kune pigs and
goats and sheep from Arapawa Island and preserving Shire
horses, Highland cattle and Hokonui and Clarence River sheep.
"The work of the society is not just any one species. We are
involved in all sorts things, from birds to draught horses,
sheep, pigs, goats, llamas and alpacas."
About 1200 to 1500 people were expected to attend the poultry
auction and heritage breeds display.
"At the poultry auction, you can buy anything from doves,
pigeons to purebred chooks, geese, ducks and turkeys.
"The heritage breeds display is where people with heritage
breeds and all the things that go with it, can display and
sell their stock on site."
The stalls offered "everything from heritage produce to seeds
and plants and animals".
"If someone was looking for something which is not quite
mainstream, for example if you're looking for hens which lay
green eggs to have with your ham for breakfast, you can find
While poultry and animals could be purchased online, Mr
Culling said the auction offered people the chance to see
what they were buying and to speak to breeders and experts.
Mr Culling said the success of the day was thanks to the
support of Willowbank Wildlife Park, which was once again
offering half price admission to the park and auction ($10
for adults and $5 for children).
"Lots of people come together to make the day happen. We
couldn't do it without Willowbank and the rare breeds people
- The 25th annual Canterbury Rare Breeds Auction will be
held on Sunday, March 9, at Willowbank Wildlife Park, with
viewing at 10am and the auction from 1pm.
- by David Hill