Rare Wildlife Breeds

Kune Kune Pigs:

The exact origin of kunekune pigs is not known exactly. Some say that the early Maori brought them over in the first canoes that arrived in New Zealand; others say that they are Asian in origin.

The introduction of refridgeration (removing the need to preserve produce using fat), together with increased urbanisation and decreased fat consumption resulted in a drastic decline in their numbers. A rescue mission by Staglands Wildlife Reserve and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve to preserve the breed now sees them thriving.

Kunekune’s are a very docile pig; round, plump looking, short legged, and dumpy with an upturned nose. Most have the distinctive tassels (piripiri) hanging either side of their neck and they come in a wide range of colours. Kunekune is a Maori word, and in English it means “fat and round”!

Click here to find out more about what you can do to help support New Zealand’s kune kune conservation efforts.

Nature Connections Video
Watch to find our more about the kune kune pigs at Staglands



Auckland Island Pigs:

The Auckland Islands are a group of sub-Antarctic islands which are situated some 320kms south of New Zealand. Many animals were released on these islands in the 1800s with a view to feeding shipwrecked sailors, usually from sealing or whaling ships.

By the end of the last century the Department of Conservation decided that too much vegetation was being destroyed and that the eggs and young of ground nesting birds were at great risk. This resulted in the decision to substantially reduce all introduced animals on the island.

An expedition to save some of the pigs was carried out in 1999 by the Rare Breeds Society, some of which now reside at Staglands, Wellington.

These pigs are smaller than the average wild pig, with longer, narrower heads and noses and with a long, straight tail.

Our enclosure here at our Wellington farm park has an elevated walkway from where you can view the pigs roaming around in their bush setting.

For a fun family activity with the kids why not compare the different features of the Auckland island pigs and the kunekune pigs?

Click here to find out more about what you can do to help support New Zealand’s Auckland Island pig conservation efforts.  

Arapawa Island Goats:

It is widely believed that Arapawa island goats are a surviving remnant of the Old English breed, possibly descendants of a pair released by James Cook onto Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds in 1773. The goats of Arapawa Island have never numbered more than a few hundred, and were always subject to intermittent hunting. In the 1970s they came under the threat of eradication when it was thought that they were seriously damaging the island’s native forest and so a programme of severe culling was instigated.

Fortunately, the dedicated efforts of one Arapawa Island resident, Betty Rowe, assisted by her family and volunteer helpers, thwarted the efforts of the cull team, with the result that a small but viable population of Arapawa goats was saved. Her efforts on behalf of the goats continued for thirty-five years until her death in 2008.

In the mid 1970’s Staglands was first involved in removing some goats from the Island to help preserve the breed. In recent years more been removed and are now being bred by a few enthusiasts in various places throughout New Zealand, the USA and Great Britain. However the total number in domestication worldwide is still thought to be less than three hundred and according to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the New Zealand Arapawa goat is one of the rarest goat breeds in the world and critically close to extinction.

That said with their priority being the protection of the native fauna and flora on Arapawa Island's reserve, an annual cull of the goats by the Department of Conservation continues today. This is what inspired a 2013 initiative by the New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association, DOC and Staglands to capture and remove some goats from the Island. 

Our aim is to work towards successfully breeding Arapawa island goats and encourage others to do the same to help maintain this rare breed.

Click here to find out more about what you can do to help support New Zealand’s Arapawa Island goat conservation efforts.

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