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New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association

New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association

(Incorporating the International Arapawa Goat Association)

Arapawa buck
Adult Arapawa buck

Arapawa Goats – Breed Standard


The New Zealand Arapawa goat breed can be traced back to the two goats left on Arapawa Island, as documented in Captain Cook’s journal entry on the 2nd June 1773, and supported by the diary entry of Georg Forster who was also on the Resolution:

“The next morning we accompanied the captains Cook and Furneaux to East Bay, and Grass Cove, where they intended to collect a load of antiscorbutic greens. We had not only endeavoured to leave useful European roots in this country, but we were likewise attentive to stock its wilds with animals, which in time might become beneficial to the natives, and to future generations of navigators. To this purpose captain Furneaux had already sent a boar and two sows to Canibal Cove, where they had been turned into the woods to range at their own pleasure; and we now deprived ourselves, with the same view, of a pair of goats, male and female, which we left in an unfrequented part of East Bay. These places had been fixed upon, in hopes that our new colonists would there remain unmolested by the natives, who indeed were the only enemies they had to fear...” (A Voyage Round the World, Vol 1, 2000, University of Hawai‘i Press, page 126).

It is believed that one or both of these goats were Old English Milch goats. Because of a ‘goat control programme’ operated by the Department of Conservation, and which has been ongoing since the 1970s, at Betty Rowe’s initiative a number of Arapawa goats were taken off the island and given sanctuary by several people determined to protect the integrity of the breed. All goats determined to be purebred Arapawa goats, and registered as such, can be linked back to these protectors: David Hughes, Michael Trotter, Michael Willis and Bev Trowbridge.

General Appearance:

Smaller than modern milking goats, the general appearance of the Arapawa is a small, light-framed goat with all parts of the body in balanced proportion relative to its size. The buck presents as heavier in the head, neck and forequarters. All Arapawa goats have distinctly patterned faces, which are long and narrow. Dark brown or black-striped facial markings are distinctive features of the Arapawa breed. The ears are placed at the upper part of the skull and are small and expressive. Horns should be symmetrical, with the does’ sweeping up towards the back and the bucks’ sweeping up, back and curling outwards. The overall picture is that of an alert, good-natured, attractive animal. Arapawa goats do not have tassels.


Females and males are considered mature at 24 months. As a general guideline, the height at withers of a mature animal should be 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 centimetres) for females and 26 to 30 inches (66 to 76 centimetres) for males.

Desirable Features:

Distinguishing male from female: Sexual differences between doe and buck should be immediately obvious.

Eyes: Full of expression, alert and bright, the Arapawa goats’ eyes have an amber iris and a black pupil.

Head and Neck: Strong and in proportion to the length of the body. The head is wide at the eyes and tapers to form a distinct bridge at the nose. Some (male and female) sport elegant goatee beards.

Back: Must be strong, broad and relatively straight with the presence of a dorsal stripe or shading along the centre of the spine.

Loins: Should give the appearance of strength. These attach to a wide, generous croup.

Croup: Continues the topline, and should have a gently sloping appearance, to allow for easy kidding. Too steep a slope is undesirable.

Arapawa face
Facial features

Tail: Short in relation to the body, carried gaily, pointing upwards.

Ears: The ears are pixie type that when folded reach just below the eye level.

Limbs: The front legs should be in proportion to the depth of the body. The legs should be straight, strong and well placed, with strong pastern joints and well-formed, dark hooves.

Colour: Arapawa goats vary in colour but are predominantly tan, brown, white and black in varying combinations with dark brown or black badger stripes on the face.   [See the Gallery for examples of a variety of coat colours.]

Coat: Lustrous and in good condition, free of foreign debris and parasites, the coat can be long on the hind quarters (petticoat), or all over, with some fringing along the back. In winter they have fine, matted underwool coats.

Doe (Nanny): A strong emphasis on femininity. The round-bellied look of the Olde English goat, slender and fine-boned. The horns of the does are round, shorter than the bucks and curve backwards over the head. The doe should appear finer than the buck. Both her fore and hind legs should appear strong, but correspondingly finer and more delicate than the male’s.

Buck (Billy): A strong emphasis on masculinity. The round-bellied look of the Olde English goat, but should be solid and stocky. Flattened, wide-sweeping horns. The buck’s body structure should show more massive muscling than that of the doe.

Alison Sutherland, 2014

Arapawa doe with kids
Adult Arapawa doe with kids
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New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association

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