Matthew’s love for sheep started young. His earliest memory is preschool:
“We used to shear in what is now the historic mud house in Mahana on our farm. We would roll the fleeces and stack them on the truck to take to the hop kiln to press the wool about half a mile away. The truck had wooden sides and the rolled fleeces were stacked about 6 feet high. When the truck went to leave my father picked me up and threw me in the middle of the fleeces. As the truck drove away I sunk down and down until I disappeared into the wool – it was fantastic.”
By 11 he had his first flock of sheep – about a dozen Dorset horn ewes and a ram. At 15 he went to a wool board shearing course – to this day his only qualification is a stage one shearing certificate.
It is fair to say that farming is in his blood. This evolved to a passion for rare breeds and he was involved in bringing the first shipment of llamas and alpacas from Chile to New Zealand to manage and commercialise. A vertically integrated focus of rare breeds, the production of yarns and patterns, distribution and retail has been a dedicated focus ever since.
Nelson Merino is perfectly aligned with Matthews values and passion. He recognised and appreciated the super luxurious feel of wool before the age of five and takes pride in the boutique, locally focused supply chain delivering premium but competitive garments worldwide.