RIP Shrek – not the curmudgeonly green ogre, but the woolly colossus who made headlines around the world after evading mustering for six years.
Shrek was no ordinary merino. If anything, he looked more like a giant cauliflower than a sheep.
By the time Shrek was discovered in a cave on Bendigo sheep station near New Zealand’s Southern Alps, he had avoided the shearer’s blades for six years. His 38cm (15ins) coat of merino wool had kept him alive despite the region’s harsh, snowy winters and searingly-hot summers.
Shrek had the full Brazilian – and more – on an iceberg off the coast of Dunedin. Shrek’s fabulous ‘fro yielded 27kg (59lb) of merino wool, which is six times as much as the average sheep.
Icebreaker stepped in to keep the newly-naked Shrek cosy with a specially-made coat, which he wore for an audience with then Prime Minister Helen Clark in Wellington. He flew in planes, visited hospitals and was immortalised in best-selling books, and in the process raised money for a children’s charity.
Fame never turned Shrek’s head, and his owners said he was a sheep of exceptional personality.
Alas, Shrek’s dream run has come to an end. At 17 – almost double his life expectancy – Shrek had to be put down after suffering health problems. Station owner John Perriam described him as “a great old mate” who was ready to go to sleep.
John wants Shrek’s ashes to be scattered at the top of Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, so he can look out over his old stamping ground. A service for Shrek will be held at the appropriately-named Church of the Good Shepherd.
“Layer up for warmth” is one of our favourite phrases at Icebreaker, and we’ve never met anyone who did it as well as Shrek. Farewell, old friend – we’ll miss ewe.
Since the 1980s, consumers have been “fleeced” by sportswear companies that make garments they call “fleece” but are actually synthetic garments made from oil.
Everyone knows real Champagne comes from the Champagne region of France; and real fleece only comes from a sheep – and now from us right here in New Zealand!
In our new Fall/Winter 10 season we unveil Realfleece – a premium natural alternative to a synthetic fleece for men and women. Unlike synthetics, Icebreaker Realfleece is stylish and sophisticated and can be worn on the mountain as well as on the town.
Here’s Icebreaker founder & CEO Jeremy Moon talking about Realfleece:
One of the best things about Icebreaker is our relationships with our merino wool growers. Last weekend I was lucky enough to get invited to spend some time at Cluden Station with Anna (our New Zealand Corporate Account Manager) and her partner Sam. We started off by having dinner with some farmers from a neighbouring station. Incredible company, a great roast meal and some wine made for a fun night.
Although it rained the entire time I was there, when we made it up to the high country (via a very bumpy and exciting ride in a ute), I saw one of the most incredible sights ever. It was snowing all around me and when I looked down the mountain it was completely green. For many people who live near or experience the mountains on a regular basis, this may not be a big deal, but for a “townie” like me it was pretty special.
Lucky for me my IcebreakerGT Base Layer 200 Crew paired with a Superfine LS Hood and topped off with Real Fleece kept me toasty warm in the snow at the top of the mountain. Sam was kind enough to stop the ute a few times so I could take photos. I was totally a tourist and very much appreciated the patience of my hosts.
In the high country, the merino sheep were a bit difficult to spot, but thanks to some very skilled and lovable dogs, I was able to see two merino running down the mountain. It was awesome to see the source of the merino that was keeping me warm in all that snow.
Overall it was a great trip where I learned heaps about what life in the country is like here in New Zealand, and I was lucky enough to experience some spectacular scenery and hospitality.
- Swave Szymczyk, Global In-Store Marketing Manager