Having spent twenty years working and living on the small Caribbean island of St Maarten, Frank and Anya Wallkington knew the time had come to relocate somewhere else. And after a short holiday in New Zealand, knew they had found the place for them.
Purchasing 24 acres near Auckland they then invested in five alpacas on account that they were a little bit more exciting than cattle. Drawn to the animals for their gentle nature, quirky personalities and large eyes, they quickly expanded their knowledge around genetics and fibre; and became involved with the NZ Alpaca Association.
In 2011, with a herd of 55 a larger piece of land was found in Wainui, Banks Peninsula. 45 minutes from Christchurch.
Having had experience with the cruise ship market, the couple saw an opening to share their majestic animals with tourists from all around the world. Utilising the fleece, Anya worked with local and Christchurch knitters to produce a small range of clothing and set up a basic shop. Which, alongside the offering of a farm tour complete with intimate encounters with alpacas, saw the launch of Shamarra Alpacas.
As tourist numbers increased the shop had to diversify in order to keep up with the commercial demands. The couple are now processing three tonne of fibre a year to make their beautiful clothing, blankets and accessories, all of which is sourced from New Zealand and Australia.
Fibre & Genetics
Alpaca fibre is one of the most beautiful natural fibres in the world and it has taken Frank and Anya years of dedicated breeding to produce alpaca fleece of the right quality. Every fleece produced and sourced is tested to ensure only premium low micron alpaca is used. Resulting in a finished item that is soft, luxurious and eminently wearable.
With genetics and breeding at the heart of their operation, the growth of the herd is essential and one which is managed with extreme care and detail. Today they have over 160 alpacas.
Testament to their passion for genetics is the export of Shamarra progeny to Europe, UK and Australia and their numerous ribbons and awards gained at A&P Shows across New Zealand.
(Photo by Charlie Jackson)
Peru Holiday 2017
Machu Picchu, Maras near Sacred Valley and Condors at Colca Canyon
In beautiful Arequipa, we visited Michell and Inca Tops, the two largest processors of alpaca in the world.
Alpaca Knitwear Store
Alpaca Knitwear luxuriously soft and dye free in nature’s timeless colours