Pōhatu's rare breeds sheep

Pōhatu's rare breeds sheep

Your hosts, the Helps Family, have farmed sheep at Pōhatu Bay for over 40 years. They have also closed up over 40% of their farm into Covenants and Reserves to recreate luxurious ancient forests and allow the native fauna to navigate and expand their territory.

Ruminants evolved 90,000,000 years ago and the sheep is the best carbon converting animal locking carbon into wool from eating grass that sequesters atmospheric carbon, thus making wool the ultimate eco biodegradable fibre. With the huge move from Wool to planet destroying plastics including micro plastic from plastic based clothing, many of the big wool producing breeds are very close to extinction. We are breeding some of these now rare breeds to make sure when the world comes to the realization organic is best there will be at least a small amount of high wool producing sheep to build the flocks of the future.

The four long wool breeds are Romney, English Leicester, Valais Blacknose and Longwool Lincoln.

  • The Valais Blacknose, German: Walliser Schwarznasenschaf, is a breed of domestic sheep originating in the Valais region of Switzerland.
  • It is a dual-purpose breed, raised both for meat and for wool, but mainly wool production which is good for felting and carpets.
  • Placid nature, easily trained make them perfect pets.
  • They're known as the World's cutest sheep.
  • Every Year we end up with orphan lambs that need to be raised on the bottle. For children especially this is often the highlight of the tour to experience holding the bottle to feed the lambs.
  • To learn more about our breeding program click here.
Lincoln Longwool Sheep
Long wool Lincoln sheep
  • The breed arrived in New Zealand in 1840 and was mainly crossed with the Merino.
  • It is a strong wool breed, very close to extinction.
  • The Lincoln sheep is noted for being the biggest sheep with the longest fleece and the highest lustre or sheen in the wool. Because of early maturing they were used to improve the quality of flocks in size, constitution, wool and mutton.
  • Nowadays the main use for the wool is wig making.
  • The Lincoln sheep is one of the oldest established long wool breed that would have originated over 5000 years ago in East Anglia (England)
  • Unrelated rams will be very hard to find so in the meantime we will use them in the Valais Blacknose breeding up program.
Romney Sheep
White romney lambs at Flea bay
  • The Romney, which had originated on Romney Marsh in the English county of Kent, was introduced to New Zealand in 1853 and was the predominant sheep breed being farmed.
  • Good constitution—adapting well to varying terrains and climates.
  • Good fertility (120–200%).
  • Good producer of both meat and strong wool but not high yield or fast growth re-meat.
  • Good mothering and survivability.
  • Romneys are predominantly white and have changed in New Zealand through selective breeding to a hardier fitter sheep more suitable for hill country farming.
  • At Pōhatu we have 850 white wool breeding ewes and have also been breeding a small flock of coloured Romneys for the craft industry for over 40 years.
Baby doll Sheep
Baby doll ram smiling
  • Known to be one of the smallest sheep in the world.
  • They are critically endangered in their oldest form.
  • Being of low stature with short necks and not able to stand on hind legs to browse, they are in high demand as Woolly lawnmowers in orchards and vineyards. This eliminates the need to use fossil fuel to mow. The bonus; they are excellent manure spreaders as they convert grass to droppings.
  • Although very small they are a good meat breed putting on weight quickly.
  • Their wool is dense and at the same time one of the finest ones from all British breed.
  • Find out more about our flock here.
We have a certain amount of sheep for sale every year for breeding or as a pet.

this page and find out what we have available for the year or coming year.

Breeds that we are selling are:
  • Valais Blacknose
  • Arapawa
  • Black and coloured Romney

We also used to have these breeds

English Leicester sheep
English Leicester at Pohatu bay, New Zealand
  • The English Leicester, from UK is a pioneer breed suited to rough grazing country and was amongst the earliest sheep imported to NZ.
  • Dual purpose, very good for crossing with Merino to give increased wool, has a good constitution and more meat.
  • They are also crossed with Merino to produce half breeds and were used to establish the Corridale sheep breed which is still a popular breed in new Zealand.
  • Alert, large body frame, quiet temperament and high lambing average.

Perendale Sheep
Perandale lamb
  • The Perendale isn't a rare breed of sheep but rather common in New Zealand and is commercially farmed on steep hill country such as Pōhatu Bay.
  • They have been developed in New Zealand by Massey University for use in steep hill stations. 
    The breed is named after Sir Geoffrey Peren, and it achieves its aims by being the offspring of Romney ewes and Cheviot rams with sturdy legs.
  • It is a dual purpose sheep use to increase the meat yeld of Romney's but still carries a good fleece.
We bred Perendale for years as they were so suited to our steep hill country at Pōhatu/ Flea bay, but have now moved to Performance Romneys over our Perendale ewes to improve wool clip. Even with wool prices still low we see wool has to again come popular as the ultimate eco-fibre that will replace many plastic products in the future. With a trend to avoid costly shearing, there has been a big move with New Zealand sheep farmers to breeding self-shedding sheep causing one of New Zealand's most popular breeds to become almost a threatened breed. Perendales should always find their place as the ultimate hardy hill country breed.

  • Although there are many theories of how the sheep arrived, it is generally accepted that they are descendants of Merino strains from Australia, although it is possible the merinos crossed with earlier sheep of unknown breed introduced as a food source by whalers or sealers. DNA testing does suggest a connection to an early Spanish sheep that was introduced to the Americas during early Spanish exploration making the story of the Arapawa sheep steeped in mystery.
  • The ram can grow horns that have reached over a meter on both sides.​​​​
  • The Arapawa sheep has developed into a hardy easy care breed very suitable for grazing lifestyle blocks.
  • Find out more about this breed here.