I come from a farming background, which I enjoy very much. My involvement in this lifestyle has led me to owning my own flock of rare breed Gotland sheep which I run on my 50 hectare farm. I have been breeding gotland sheep for ten years now and find them to be a friendly and inquisitive breed, well suited to the Takaka Hill environment. I particularly enjoy the varying shades of their fleece, ranging from near white through to near black, most predominately though varying shades of grey.
You will find products made from gotland wool at The Woolshed. The naturally coloured undyed wool is superb for creating original garments for felters, knitters, spinners and weavers.
Gotland sheep are an unique breed with some desirable qualities. They are considered a rare breed in New Zealand and are New Zealand's only true coloured sheep. That is to say that other breeds of sheep are either white or coloured, but Gotland is always coloured.
The Gotland's fleece has a very high luster and well-defined crimp. The array of silver and grey shades make the fleeces highly desirable to spinners, knitters, felters and weavers. Gotland wool ranges from 29 to 33 microns and is very high yielding. The lamb fleeces can be as fine as 20 micron.
Gotlands are known for being very hardy and prolific breed, twins are quite common and they are excellent mothers. They are a friendly and inquisitive breed and when handled well are easier than many other breeds to manage. The lambs are born black but normally turn various shades of grey/silver as they mature.
The Gotland breed of sheep (and its magnificent wool!) has become world renowned since Stansborough's Gotland wool was used to make the Magic Elvin Cloak in the movie "Lord of the Rings" and Gandalf's Magical Silver Scarf in the movie "The Hobbit".
The breed originated on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic sea, off the East Coast of Sweden. Gotland sheep are direct descendants of the Gute breed.