Alpacas to be stars of new A&P show

The newly established South Canterbury A&P Association will hold its first show in Waimate, with a new feature at this year's event.

Alpacas will be on show for a series of competitions.

Otaio Bridge Alpacas owner Jacob van Neuren said the the animals would be led into the show ring by exhibitors and judged on conformation and fleece.

Two classes of alpacas, suri (dreadlock-looking fleece) and huacaya (woolly looking) will compete and there will be categories for males, females, age and colour.

Judges will also be looking for winners in a performance class, where exhibitors are judged on their presentation as they lead the animals around an obstacle course.

"This is always a crowd pleaser," Mr van Neuren said.

"Looking at the entries, the show will be a big success. We will have some of the best alpacas in the country here in Waimate."

Alpacas Association of New Zealand has donated two trophies.

The Murray Bruce Perpetual Trophy for champion huacaya is named after the man who started the paperwork for the importing of alpacas from Chile to New Zealand in 1984.

In 1989, Mr Bruce imported 270 alpacas and many of the animals in New Zealand now are descendants of those first arrivals.

The Erik van Schreven Memorial Trophy will be awarded to the champion suri. Mr van Schreven was the vet in charge of alpacas from day one. He researched the animals and set the standards for New Zealand.

"Most of the veterinary knowledge on alpacas we now have in New Zealand is based on Erik's work. His death at the start of this year was a real shock to the alpaca industry," Mr van Neuren said.

Mr Bruce and Mr van Schreven's partner, Judy White, will be at the show to present the trophies.

New Zealand has about 12,000 animals, the United States 60,000 and Australia more than 100,000 – the largest alpaca population outside South America. Alpaca fleece is know for its silky fibre.

The South Canterbury A&P Association was formed this year as a result of two A&P associations merging – the former Timaru and Waimate A&P associations.

Timaru's A&P show has been held in Waimate for the past few years after the association sold its showgrounds.

The South Canterbury A&P Show will be held on Saturday, November 19.

The Timaru Herald