• About Alpacas

    About Alpacas

Whats up with Rising Sun

Rising Sun

I’m a bit of celebrity around the farm and on social media. My fleece is super soft and luxurious, but even more than that, I’m apparently a one-of-a-kind, perfect specimen of an alpaca! I’m also as lovable as I am handsome, so pop into Shamarra Alpacas for a tour and a pat.

Whats up with Harlequin

Harlequin

A glamorous damsel through and through, I’m a big fan of being groomed well ahead of a photo op (your next selfie on a farm tour). My big eyes look even better when my fleece is on fleek. And I’ve been known to wear the odd denim jacket or hat, depending on the season.

But don’t be intimidated by my flair for fashion; I’m always up for a solid cuddle like my other friends.

Whats up with Tornado

Tornado

I absolutely adore wee human kiddos and alpaca babies alike! Arguably the friendliest of all the furry faces here at Shamarra, I like to get visits and snuggles year-round.

They come from a place located over 4000m above sea level, a high alpine desert of snow-capped mountains called the Altiplano in Peru.

It is here, thousands of years ago on these cold, desolate plateaus that Peru’s ancient ancestors domesticated the most beautiful animal that Pachamama, (mother earth) had created. For centuries it is the alpaca’s fleece that has allowed the animals to defeat the chilling wind and freezing cold – the people of Peru would not have prospered without the warming comfort of this amazing fibre.

The ancient Peruvian people, the Incas, were masters in the art of weaving and wove a fabric from the fleece of the alpaca that was so soft and luxurious that it was prized above all else and considered more valuable than gold.

The Spanish invasion in the 14th century caused chaos and devastation. The Spanish plundered the abundant treasures of gold, silver and precious stones, but they ignored the greatest treasures of all: the alpaca, and the rare luxurious alpaca fabrics that were the foundation of Incan wealth.

In the effort to conquer the people, there was wholesale slaughter of alpaca and the carefully tended alpaca herds and centuries of breeding knowledge were lost forever. To escape the plundering Spanish Conquistadors, the small number of alpaca that survived were secretly moved high into the barren and remote mountains where they are still found today.

The beautiful textiles coveted by Incan royalty for centuries were destroyed along with the Inca themselves. All across the remote valleys, once prosperous villages fell into a poverty that has endured for five centuries.

Alpacas and their fabled cloth were forgotten.

It was not until 300 years later, in the 17th century that alpaca was rediscovered. Ironically, royalty once again wore the fabric of the alpaca when Queen Victoria of England commissioned several gowns to be made from alpaca fleece.

But it was almost another 100 years before the lasting renaissance of the Alpaca in Peru when pioneers such a Frank Webster Michell and great breeders such as Don Julio Barreda saw the potential of the alpaca not only as a fleece producing animal but also as a resource which would benefit the people and the economy of Peru.

It was not an easy path and there were many setbacks along the way, but perseverance prevailed and in recent years alpaca has emerged once again and is now seen as a luxurious alternative that rivals other mainstream natural fibres.

In a bid to remain socially and environmentally responsible, the world’s fashion brands now include alpaca in their luxury collections. Alpaca is recognised as a better and more environmentally friendly substitute for cashmere and other natural fibres.

Today’s alpaca is the synthesis of a long and often tragic history, a beautiful animal with big dark eyes whose shy knowing glances seem to reach deep into your soul. Maybe they remember their origins in a land where they were sometimes treated with indifference and had to weather many a man made storm in order to cling to their fragile existence.

But it is all of this, coupled with our love for these endearing creatures that forms a common bond that brings us together.

Alpaca – easy on you, easy on our earth.

Extracts from Synthesis of a Miracle by Michael Saffley and quotes by Don Julio Barreda

Shamarra Alpacas view over Akaroa
  • “It was a wonderful experience. The staff were so friendly and knowledgeable, the alpacas are just gorgeous and the scenery was amazing! It’s a great place to visit and we will certainly be back.”

    Trip advisor – October 2021

  • “We loved getting up close to the alpacas, they are so cute and fluffy, and they were happy to be patted! The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable, she knew all of the alpacas names and was happy to take photos for us. The farm is in a beautiful location with stunning views of the Akaroa Harbour. Tea, coffee, juice and homemade biscuits at the end of the tour was also a very nice touch. This is a must do if you are going to Akaroa!”

    Trip Advisor – November 2021

  • What a sweet discovery this was on our way to Akaroa. Our host couldn’t have been more gracious and whilst we didn’t want to do a tour we did want to support the local vendors. Our host talked us through all merchandise and was so knowledgeable to the point where we spent way more than intended because it was all so beautiful and we are delighted with our purchases. Added to that we got the chance to visit the alpacas and they were so much fun! 

    Trip Advisor – Feb 2022

  • “Was really looking forward to this visit and it absolutely didn’t disappoint! We got to have so many cuddles with the alpacas and the farm has the most beautiful view of the surrounding area which overall makes for such a perfect experience. Will definitely visit again when I’m back in NZ :)”

    Google Review – April 2022

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