Shrek the sheep was born in 1994 near Tarras, New Zealand. When he was around 4 years old, he decided he did not want to be shorn (have his wool cut) and so he began to hide in caves to avoid being caught. When they finally did catch him, it took a professional 20 minutes to do the shearing, which was broadcast on national TV, CNN and the BBC. Learn more about Shrek the Sheep!
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After shearing off his immense fleece, they had enough wool to make 20 suits, which were all auctioned off to charity. Shrek became a national icon in New Zealand and was invited to meet the prime minister, Helen Clark, in 2004. Shrek the Sheep was made famous in photographs, videos, and children’s books; even though New Zealand has 10 times more sheep than people, Shrek stood out and captured the hearts of people with his delightful story. He raised money for charities, boosted the publicity of the wool industry, made public appearances around the country, contributed millions to the economy— and Shrek was even shorn on an floating iceberg to celebrate his 10th birthday.
There is a children’s book that tells Shrek’s story called Shrek : The Famous Hermit Sheep Of Tarras,
written by the teachers and children of Tarras school, to raise money for their school. I was able to request the book through my library’s “interlibrary loan” system, and recently I found it on Amazon.com.
Before reading the book, my kids and I found New Zealand on a map. They loved to hear that people from New Zealand are often called “Kiwis,” and that this nickname is derived from a flightless bird of the island (and not the kiwi fruit). I taught them that New Zealand is rich in agriculture, and that their meat, fruit, vegetables, and wool were exported around the world for other countries to use.
- Why do you think everyone loves Shrek so much?
- Shrek did not want a haircut! Is there anything that you would like to run and hide from?
- Once he was famous, they cut sheared his wool on an iceberg! What would be the most exciting place for you to get a haircut?
The kids love the heart-warming story about Shrek, and also enjoyed seeing him in this video:
For more information, here is an article from New Zealand about Shrek.
Finally, if you like sheep, you might be interested in this post about Irish sheep, and a sheep craft: “Caora” is Irish for Sheep