Buoyed by the quality of cashmere produced by goats on their Clinton farm, David and Robyn Shaw believe the fibre offers an “amazing opportunity” for New Zealand farmers.
For the past 35 years, they have been working quietly behind the scenes to now be producing fibre they consider of equal quality to the best in the world.
Mr and Mrs Shaw, who have formed New Zealand Cashmere, recently announced a commercialisation programme with luxury lifestyle brand Untouched World and yarn manufacturer Woolyarns.
Both those companies were pivotal in developing possum merino blends for the luxury wool market.
The global cashmere market was expected to reach $US3.1billion by 2022. The industry had been growing at a constant annual rate of 3.86% and that was expected to continue for at least the next five years.
New Zealand Cashmere was offering the opportunity for like-minded farmers to work with them to develop the national flock into a “resurgent, premium export industry”.
Mr Shaw developed a strong interest in cashmere fibre during his student days at Lincoln University in the 1980s and also studied goats in the United States.
Back then, cashmere was being touted as an industry with a future. By 1985, 500,000 goats were being farmed in New Zealand, peaking at 1.3million in 1988, but the industry imploded.
Mr Shaw had always liked the animal and its product, so persisted over the years, encouraged by genetic improvement.
It had been a long haul but the couple were excited about what they saw as the “renaissance” of a dormant New Zealand cashmere industry. Being prepared was the key, Mr Shaw said.
“We have seen the goat sector grow and then implode into a longer period of stagnation. Three years ago, we were faced with either giving up and losing years of genetic gain or creating a solution.
Original article: NZ Herald . 16 Jan, 2018 1:36pm
Listen to Jamie Mackay’s interview with David Shaw below…