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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Types and Quantities of Wool

New Zealand runs a very large number of sheep for its size and produces over 600 million equivalent pounds of greasy wool a year. This includes shorn wool, slipe wool pulled from skins in the freezing works, scoured wool (which has been washed clean) and some wool on sheepskins: 97 per cent is exported to (mainly) Britain, France, and the United States of America. New Zealand ranks first in the world as a producer of crossbred wool, second to Australia as an exporter of wool, and third to Australia and the Soviet Union for total wool produced.

Different breeds of sheep grow different kinds of wool. The wool trade traditionally describes wool by its physical properties – fineness, length, tensile strength, colour, etc., rather than by the breed of sheep that grew it. The only dependable analysis of our clip is published annually by the New Zealand Wool Commission. The latest analysis gives this table: