International travel

Pink Sheep?

On the day we arrived in New Zealand, we drove north from Auckland to Paihia on State Highway 1. After the long flight, I tiredly sat in the back of the van and enjoyed the passing scenery: Lush green hills and pastures littered with cattle and sheep; occasionally a few chickens.

Suddenly I saw something very unusual out the window. Pink sheep.

Imagesby RJM


I knew New Zealand was famous for its sheep [according to the latest info I found, the sheep-to-person ration is 8:1]. And I was aware that many breeds were raised there.

But nowhere had I read about pink sheep.

As I later wrote in my journal, “A few miles up the road [from the Parry Kauri Park] I noticed pink sheep. Really! It was such a surprise, and I didn’t feel it was safe to ask Dick to stop quickly. So no photo.”

While I did not mention this amazing sight to my traveling companions, I did keep a watchful eye out, hoping that I would see more pastel-colored sheep and could share the discovery! Alas, I saw no more.

A few days later, as we were returning to Auckland (again on State Highway 1), I told my companions of what I had seen and asked them to be on the lookout for pink sheep.

“Pink sheep? <snicker> Are you sure they weren’t pink elephants? Ha ha!”

“I’m serious. I saw pink sheep, and if we come across them again they’ll be on the left hand side of the road.”

To my delight – and their surprise – we soon saw a sign announcing Sheepworld up ahead.  And there they were, in the roadside pasture. Pink sheep!

Our driver agreed to pull into the parking lot so we take some photos and ask about the origin of these Easter egg-colored creatures.

Images by RJM
Pink sheep of Sheepworld

Images by RJM

Expecting to learn that they were an exotic breed, I was a little disappointed when I was told that they were just colored by vegetable oil and dye “for fun” – and advertisement, of course!

During our stay in New Zealand we would have many sheep encounters:

Sheep shearing at the Agrodome in Rotorua, sheep herding (and shearing) at Walter Peak Sheep Station in Queenstown, feeding the sheep at Totara Estate near Oamaru.

And, of course, we would frequently see them in fields and pastures.

But Pink Sheep? Only at Sheepworld!

By Jeri Murphy

Traveler, writer, photographer, former wedding officiant, mother, friend, explorer and new Texian ... that's just a little about me!

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