Today is National Lamb Day marking the 135th anniversary of the day the first frozen New Zealand sheepmeat carcase left these shores bound for the UK.
Industry pioneers William Davidson and Thomas Brydone pulled off putting together a shipment of frozen sheepmeat carcases for the Steam Ship Dunedin to take from Port Chalmers in Otago to London.
The 5,000 sheep carcases on the Dunedin arrived in London 98 days later in excellent condition. This was a testament to Kiwi innovation (although not without incident with all the challenges of refrigeration in those days).
The first voyage was an important step in establishing New Zealand’s international trading links from our sheep and beef industry, which now contributes $9.6 billion a year to the New Zealand economy. The industry hopes Kiwis here and around the world will recognise this achievement and celebrate by enjoying lamb today.
Beef + Lamb NZ Ltd chief executive Sam McIvor says New Zealand has enjoyed a long and successful trading relationship with the UK and the New Zealand sheep and beef industry is looking for a Brexit outcome that will maintain those historic links.
“New Zealand lamb continues to play an important part with the counter season supply that keeps lamb on UK retail shelves all year round,” says McIvor.
“Both we and British farmers want more British lamb eating more lamb, more often.”
This year, to celebrate National Lamb Day, the British High Commissioner to NZ, His Excellency Jonathan Sinclair welcomes a select group of industry heavyweights – farmers, industry leaders, government representatives to his residence in Wellington in celebration of National Lamb Day.
The event provides a unique opportunity for discussions around current issues facing the industry, opportunities for improvements and to acknowledge how far the industry has come.
Guests will be treated to a delicious New Zealand lamb dinner served by four Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chefs: Rex Morgan, Boulcott Bistro, Wellington; Mat McLean, Palate Restaurant, Hamilton; Stephen Barry, Mount Bistro, Mt Maunganui; and Darren Wright, Chillingworth Road, Christchurch.
So … you’ll be in esteemed company, how are you cooking your lamb this evening?