Ever since the 1850s, sheep farming has been an important economic activity, and until the 1960s wool accounted for over a third of exports. Sheep meat is still a significant source of revenue, while many sheep farmers have diversified into other farming lines. As a result the number of sheep has dropped from 66 million in 1992 to under 40 million in 2002. At this lamb auction the auctioneer, Doug Campbell, noted that where once 120,000 lambs were auctioned over six days, by 2003 the sales lasted two hours, with a mere 7,000 lambs and 1,000 ewes. Farmers still wore the traditional hats, however.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
New Zealand Herald
Reference: 4 December 2003
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