If we’re talking NZ’s biggest exports, it’s all about dairy, beef, kiwifruit and wine, and seafood. Just this week, it was reported that we produce enough food to feed roughly 40 million people. Nowhere on that export list is wool. Or indeed strong wool carpet.
A huge role in our economy
Sheep farming has played a huge role in our economy ever since it was first established in the early 1800’s. For several decades back in the day, wool accounted for more than a third of Aotearoa’s exports by value. We were pretty darn good at sheep farming back then and actually we still are! To be fair, sheep meat is still an export star. Strong wool dropped off the edge of a cliff a while ago, but more about that in a minute.
Millennials demand sustainable
Meanwhile, in recognition of its attributes, much has been achieved in the fine wool merino space over the past twenty years. Think stand-out performers like Ice Breaker, Untouched World and All Birds. Indeed, the head of the 150-year-old Italian textile mill, Successori Reda declared on his recent visit, that South Island merino is having one of its best ever moments, in the large part, driven by millennial demand for sustainable products.
Tsunami of solution dyed nylon
By its coarse nature, strong wool is perfect for carpet and insulation, but in recent years, wool or more specifically wool carpet, has barely withstood the tsunami of solution dyed nylon in the textile industry. Strong wool makes up about 85 percent of New Zealand’s total wool clip, but prices have been low for years. It doesn’t help that the industry here is fragmented, with no unified body representing wool growers. And for too long now we’ve been told the alternatives were better. That we shouldn’t buy wool carpet.
Reclaiming our roots
Well, it might just be that we are about to move on from our synthetic, petro-chemical phase and reclaim our roots. That the heritage and history of strong wool is still very much part of our story. That our future is about sustainable choices and natural products. So, what makes wool a sustainable choice? Wool is a natural fibre. Wool lasts. And Longview Homes knows how important built to last is.
Wool is renewable. Every year a sheep grows a new fleece. Wool is a natural insulator – it saves energy and absorbs sound. In contrast to most synthetic fibres, wool has the capacity to remove moisture from a room and the capacity to act as an efficient absorber of air pollutants.
Wool is a safe solution – it’s naturally flame resistant; it doesn’t melt and has a far higher ignition threshold than synthetic textiles. And then at the end of its useful life, wool can be returned to the soil to decompose.
Natural textiles in the new build industry
And it’s here we come the full circle to sustainable choices; the story of natural textiles in the new build industry and of strong wool – more particularly strong wool carpet. Our growing awareness of the impact our choices are making on the environment and a greater realisation that as consumers we can make a difference, is slowly bringing change. That we all have the opportunity to influence change.
Who knows, it might even be time to bring back the Wool Board. And happily, there’s still the Golden Shears.
Longview Homes will help guide you through the design and build process. Rigorous standards and sustainable choices means you can look forward to a warm, dry home in winter and a cool, comfortable home in summer. Longview Homes builds with fixed-price contracts so you know up front how much things will cost. And our pricing includes all tap-ware and mixers, appliances, joinery, fittings, toilets, tubs, and carpets – all of which you choose yourself. Longview Homes knows that beautiful homes shouldn’t cost the earth.
Get in touch with our team or call 0800 100 945 to start your exciting new build investment journey today.
Longview Homes builds both custom and pre-designed warm, dry homes of exacting quality, built to last. We have locally owned franchises around the country. It would be our pleasure to take on your building project.