New Zealand cashmere part of growing industry

David Shaw, of Clinton
David Shaw, of Clinton
David and Robyn Shaw have been selectively breeding goats since the mid-1980s on their 400ha lamb and beef finishing farm near Clinton. They believe their fibre rivals the finest grown in China or elsewhere.

''While we've been going for 35 years, it's still a fledgling industry here by any measure with only a few hundred thousand goats being farmed. But we are part of an industry growing at around 4% per year.''

The Shaws work with yarn engineers Woolyarns and fashion company Untouched World. They reach into international markets for top quality cashmere which fetches more than US$100-$200/kg.

''Volumes are small at this stage and our full clip is counted in 100s of kgs, with each goat producing around 200-400g per season.

''Internationally it's a growing industry and there remains tremendous opportunity for quality product backed by ethical production.

''As farmers we also realise we're under the microscope and that our customers increasingly expect more scrutiny and transparency. Developing a farm and fibre accreditation scheme, ensuring a robust chain of custody from farm to final product and ensuring consumer confidence in New Zealand cashmere products.''

One scheme is the Authentico scheme for cashmere, wool, yak and camel, launched under major international wool company Schneider Group last year. Schneider Group CEO Giovanni Schneider said that allowed buyers to source cashmere fibre sourced from farms in line with high animal welfare standards.

''Retailers are also able to source cashmere certified with either the Greengold Label standard or the Wildlife Conservation Society standard.''


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