New Zealand alpaca fibre 1998-2007


  • Natasha Cruthers
  • Raechel Laing
  • Brian Niven


The New Zealand alpaca industry had its beginnings in late 1989 when a ‘test flockÂ’ of 100 animals was imported from Chile. Fibre measurements from this test flock have been reported as results for ‘New Zealand alpacaÂ’, perhaps creating the impression that all alpaca fibre from this country continues to be coarse. A large sub-set of fibre measurements from the New Zealand alpaca flock (~5798 test results over the ten years (1998-2007)) was examined to ascertain if any changes in selected fibre measurements were evident. Over the ten-year period mean fibre diameter appeared to decrease, was similar to that reported for Australian-grown fibre, and was finer than that reported from the test flock. However, the percentage of fibre over 27 μm still accounted for more than a third of fibre for which results were examined, and this may be of concern if fibre is intended for use in next-to-skin garments.