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New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association

New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association

(Incorporating the International Arapawa Goat Association)



Alison Sutherland ~ Millard Farm

Arapawa goats
Dobby and Manna

When my position as teaching principal at one of New Zealand’s residential schools for young, violent offenders ended, my husband Alan and I moved to Masterton and bought a nine acre block of land close to town. Dogs, a cat, miniature horses, cows, a small flock of sheep, Kunekune pigs and some chickens formed our menagerie, but something was missing. Searching the Internet for different breeds of livestock, I happened upon Betty Rowe’s book Arapawa - Once upon an Island and read about the plight of the New Zealand Arapawa goats

Intrigued, I contacted David Hughes from the South Island, enquiring about the possibility of purchasing a breeding pair of young Arapawa goats. The day finally came when the crate was opened and two little goats, tucked safely inside, blinked in the sunlight and bleated their greeting. For me it was love at first sight.

Alison Sutherland
Alison and Hail

As Manna and Dobby settled into their new home, I set about registering them, but was unable to do so in New Zealand. While there were registries for Arapawa goats residing in the US and UK, no such registry existed for Arapawa goats in New Zealand. I contacted other Arapawa goat breeders and owners which resulted in the development of the ‘New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association’ (NZAGA) and a registry with 26 Arapawa goats listed.

The next step was to increase public awareness of the existence of these unique little animals, and so the New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association website was formed.

Old Will
Old Will

As my interest in the story of the Arapawa goats grew, I began to research their history. Rumour had it that the first Arapawa goats were put on Arapawa Island by Captain Cook in 1773, while others suggested they were left on the island by whalers and settlers. Hours spent in the National Library archives convinced me the Arapawa goats were directly linked to Captain Cook.

One particular incident between a buck and a child particularly intrigued me and lead to the creation of a children’s picture book Old Will, the first Arapawa goat. With a grant from the SPCA, this book has been donated to every primary school throughout New Zealand.


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New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association

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