Te Papa to showcase unique story of Shrek the sheep

30 October 2014

The children of Central Otago’s Tarras School will be in Wellington tomorrow to see their favourite Southern rogue, Shrek the sheep, make his debut at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Wool art works and a video made this year by the students are part of the exhibit Shrek the sheep: A lovable Southern rogue. The exhibit tells the story of the exceptionally woolly merino who tumbled onto the world’s stage in 2004 after avoiding capture in rugged hill country on Bendigo Station for six years.

Bendigo’s owner John Perriam says he has fond memories of his time with Shrek. “It was a fantastic journey for seven years with Shrek on the charity fundraising treadmill. We became very close mates and New Zealanders young and old loved him and he loved them as he travelled the country first class earning more than an All Black for public and corporate appearances. He knew he was special and a celebrity, always leading the way up airport elevators and into first class lounges. He was almost human, he always knew what I was thinking and I could read him like a book. His trust in me and the people around him was uncanny.”

The students of Tarras School also have a special story to tell about Shrek’s legacy. Under the guidance of then-principal Noelene Pullar, they wrote two books about their celebrity merino, in 2006 and 2007, helping to pay for ICT services and a second teacher at their school. Current principal Darryn Rae says 18 of the school’s 21 students have made their way to the capital to be part of this special occasion. “It’s great to be in Wellington to see the final instalment of Shrek’s legacy.”

Among the items displayed alongside the taxidermied Shrek in the exhibit are a limited edition jersey made by Icebreaker from part of the fleece from his first shearing which weighed considerably more than his own body weight, the shears used for that occasion, and the crampons worn by Shrek during his famous second shearing on an iceberg off the Otago coast in 2006.

Te Papa curator Claire Regnault says Shrek’s story is much-loved by New Zealanders. “Who could have thought a renegade sheep could achieve so much in a humble lifetime? And how many of us have raised that much money for charity or brought so much delight to so many? Shrek’s woolly story, his surprising personality and his international profile have helped improve the lives of others.”

Media contact

Rachael Bruce
+64 29 601 0010 or +64 4 381 7071

Photo opportunity: 8.45am, Friday 31 October.

The opening blessing for the Shrek exhibit with students of Tarras School and Shrek’s owner John Perriam will take place at Te Papa on Level 4 at 9am tomorrow. Media need to meet outside the main entrance of Te Papa at 8.45am to be escorted to the exhibit.