NZ Wool Expo

March 2014

A touring expo spreading the message about the sustainability and versatility of wool

The 2013 spring NZ Wool Expo is moving around six locations on the east coast of the North Island during October and November to exhibit products that show wool has a future. It is a partnership of The Campaign for Wool in New Zealand, PGG Wrightson Wool and Massey University College of Creative Arts to promote the properties and versatility of wool. Campaign for Wool NZ brand partners exhibit their products and show why they choose to use wool for their piece. Every piece has a story and a specific reason for using the versatile fibre.

The Campaign for Wool initiative by HRH The Prince of Wales is now three years old. It is a global initiative that aims to highlight wool as a fibre that is an eco-friendly, comfortable, fashionable and durable option to cheaper and more disposable alternatives. As New Zealand is a country founded on sheep farming, supporting the Campaign for Wool is as natural as the fibre itself. Over 150 companies and entities are brand partners with The Campaign for Wool in NZ. The campaign is working to reintroduce this wonder fibre to today’s generation by promoting the benefits of wool such as being flame retardant, sun safe, breathable, biodegradable, as well as natural and renewable.

The Campaign for Wool, PGG Wrightson Wool and Massey University College of Creative Arts have joined together to stage the 2013 Wool Expo as a travelling roadshow from Gisborne down to Masterton during October and November. It is the first Campaign for Wool event for PGG Wrightson Wool, the country’s largest wool broker and a significant exporter. The expo is based in PGG Wrightson retail stores in six centres. Considerable interest has been shown by PGG Wrightson clients in the products exhibited for new uses for the wool they produce. Some revolutionary and innovative woollen concepts are explored, exhibited and demonstrated.

Massey University and Auckland University of Technology students are contributing new and innovative ideas for wool. There are wool-filled dog beds, fashion garments, digitally printed woollen scarves, luxury woollen handbags and a wide range of new industrial uses for wool included in the expo.

A coffin made of wool is being exhibited as Natural Legacy Woollen Caskets. The idea isn’t new – back in the 1600s, in a bid to bolster Britain’s textile industry the British parliament passed a law requiring all corpses to be buried in a woollen shroud. Forward to 2009 when a prototype and sturdier wool coffin led to the present version. It complies with environmental standards, is lined with organic cotton, has a cardboard frame, can carry up to 200kg, has jute handles, a wool pillow and a personalised embroidered nameplate. It combines three wool fleeces and is said to be comfortable and pleasant to touch. Developer Polly McGuckin of Exquisite Wool Blankets in Christchurch describes it as “a product that is here to stay”.

“Though it was made in Britain, the first prototype used New Zealand wool and since then it has gained a lot of momentum on the British market,” she says.   “In New Zealand we’ve found people love to look at it and they all want to touch it … we’ve had a lot of positive feedback here when it’s been shown at trade gatherings and field days and of course the comment ‘Rest In Fleece’ always comes up.”

Polly’s contact is 021 186 2784. Exquisite Woollen Blankets, c/o Yaldhurst Wools, West Coast Rd, Christchurch,

Soon to be on the market, launched at the Campaign for Wool NZ expo and designed with New Zealand’s rich heritage in mind,  the unique One Black Shirt is a 100% merino wool shirt made in NZ. It is a lightweight, natural, easy care fabric woven from single worsted micro yarn. It feels good, looks great and breathes well, with a UV factor of 25-50. This is the first time this has been shown to the public. The entrepreneurs are Digby and John Crompton on 09 303 4129, email 4 Poynton Terrace, Auckland Central.

Stacey Ellis’ embroidered textiles were created from waste wool as a Massey University Master of Design project in partnership with Woolyarns Ltd.

Senior lecturer in textile design Dr. Sandra Heffernan says many of the items being demonstrated at the expo represent new science applied to wool and then commercialised. “Wool has been a cornerstone of New Zealand’s cultural heritage and economic prosperity; by adding value through innovative design, we can make it a strong part of New Zealand’s future.”

Textile design students will act as informative guides around the expo. They will show their own and other student work