Travel treasures: wool from New Zealand

We spent two weeks driving to the far points of the North Island of New Zealand, a land famous for its sheep (and sheep jokes). You think there was any way I was coming back without some wool-based souvenir?

Given limited luggage space, I restricted myself to two purchases. The first is Merino wool to make a lovely stripey jumper (pattern as yet to be determined). This was cheap – only about £30 for the lot.

Next up is the far more unusual purchase – possum wool. It’s not pure possum, but a blend of possum, merino and silk and is lovely and soft to the touch.

This wool came from Opposum World in Napier (“Creating usual products from an ecological nightmare”). The shop was, as they claim, a unique shopping and educational experience. Along with knitted garments made of the same wool, they had possum pelts, stuffed possums, possum traps – anything possum related you could think of. And in the back, a little educational possum experience, decked out like a run down old shack in the backwaters of the Southern US, with stuffed possums partying and breaking into cars. I kid you not.

Possums are quite a menace in New Zealand, apparently, as they ruin the native plant life and negatively impact on the more native wildlife such as the kiwi bird. We saw many an example of possum roadkill along the major roads – so much so that the New Zealand Souvenir shops sold candy called “Squashed Possums”. Of course I bought some of that too.

I’m not certain what I’ll make out of my possum wool – but I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s done.

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