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Lanamania: Spinning a yarn of possum by Neuseeland in Deutschland

Australia's native Brushtail Possum is a small mammal which in nature lives in forests and woodlands and like many Australian mammals; they are marsupials, meaning they carry their young in a pouch.

Lanamania is a distributor for possum yarn from New Zealand. Its website boasts: "Our passion for knitting, our love of nature and our New Zealand heritage all come together in one product...Possum handknit yarn of Zealana -the light and soft touch of New Zealand."

Lanamania promotes: "Our luxurious natural handknit yarns include 'KAURI' - 60% fine merino wool / 30% possum wool / 10 % silk, in 11 different brilliant colours. A luxurious blend. The silk fibre stabilizes the yarns and gives it a light shimmer.

In 'KIWI' - 40% fine merino wool/ 30% possum wool / 30% cotton, in 10 different natural colours. The cotton smoothes the yarn and adds elasticity and lightness.

In 'RIMU' - 60% fine merino wool / 40% possum wool, in 11 different brilliant colours. A very soft and nevertheless hardwearing yarn. Very minimal or no skin irritation.

and 'Zealana Eco' or 'Eco Merino Possum' - 80% Eco fine merino wool / 20% possum wool, in 16 different natural colours."

"...our ecological yarn."

But let's see what Australian children have to say about Australian Brushtail Possums from Anderson's Creek Primary School north of Melbourne in Australia:

"The Common Brush tail possum is hunted by many predators such as owls, Tasmanian devils, Dingoes, Foxes, Cats, Feral dogs, Large Pythons and goannas. If a possum is attacked it will climb up the nearest tree or it will its nest. If it gets caught it will kick, scream, scratch and bite. The Common Brush tail possum uses sound and smell to communicate. They hiss, growl, cough and scream to tell other possums to get off the property. In breeding season the mother possum uses a soft calls to round up her young."

"Brush tail possums eat different kinds of leaves .They also eat fruit that we grow which is a nuisance and they eat flowers. Common brush tail possums mainly are plant eaters (herbivores) some times they eat insects, grubs, moths, birds eggs and baby bids. They spend 4 hours eating at night."

But Lanamania thrashes out fur trader eco-spun yarn to its prime German export market:

"Possum yarns help to maintain the unspoiled New Zealand environment. Possum are not native to the islands and in proliferating very quickly they are a real danger to the ecological system. Using our luxury yarns you help to preserve the pure nature of New Zealand. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) supports especially the sales of possum products.

So lets go and check with the World Wildlife Fund on this and see what they have to say about this endorsement? ...'Through the Habitat Protection Fund, WWF has distributed more than NZ$ 1,400,000 to over 150 local conservation projects in New Zealand since 2000. “We'd like to see all possums as dead possums. From a conservation perspective, they are New Zealand's number one pest problem.” Eric Pyle, conservation director - WWF-NZ.'

Yet dozens of NZ possum fur traders are making a killing from the 1837 introduced immoral trade. Possum numers are not going down, they are sustaining an immoral international fur trade out of New Zealand just like the 19th century fur seal trade of Canada.

Oh and by the way "We sell possum yarn from New Zealand" is translated into German for die German export market:

'Wir verkaufen neuseeländische Possumwolle'

"By buying possum yarns you will help to maintain the environment."...and our 1837 immoral fur trade profits, danke schoen!

Then shopping online in Germany one reads at

"Possum fur has a similar feel to mink. Possum were introduced to New Zealand from Australia approximately 150 years ago to establish a possum fur industry. They thrived in New Zealand to the point that they are now considered a pest and a threat to the native bird life and flora."

So New Zealand is perpetuating its disgraced 1837 fur trade. What message is New Zealand sending to the world about its natural environmental image?

Australian Possum Habitat
"The Brush tail possum lives in a hollow branch of a tree trunk. They sleep in the day and come out at night. They are located in most outskirts of Australia. The common brush tail possums are found through out Australia and Tasmania. Common brush tail possums live in a variety of habitats. They prefer open forests and woodlands but also they live in thick forests in wet areas. Many brush tail possums live in cities too." [Chloe and Kathleen, Anderson's Creek Primary School, Victoria, Australia].


Title was: possums - JS

Ah yes, the cute wee possum - a "dearly beloved" native of Australia - but that is devastating to New Zealand flora and fauna, a vector for TB and a major, destructive pest. It is not completely appropriate to use emotive language to condemn the use of possum fur on the basis that it is an Australian native, particularly when considering its effect on New Zealand natives. Nor is it reasonable to condemn the fur harvesting as unlikely to eliminate this pest but at the same time criticise the use of 1080. If someone can come up with a better and benign control mechanism that would eliminate possums, I am certain that the Department of Conservation (that has spent millions trying to find one) would be ecstatic. Alternatively, perhaps all those who defend possum "rights" would be happy to expatriate the 70 million or so specimens back to their homeland?

Editorial comment: In fact, the objections you have raised have already been addressed in another forum, which I will try to locate. - JS

In response to the above comment 'New Zealand plagued with possums' [25-Mar-2010], by 'Anonymous (not verified)'...

Bugger the "wee cute" crap. Backyard mom and pop nonindigenous New Zealanders are clearly not trying to remove the Australian brushtail possum that their forebears misguidedly introduced in the 1800s.

Obviously they are perpetuating their forefathers' backward fur trade to international commercialisation!

"Many anti-fur people will argue that by allowing a fur trade to exist, you are by default making sure that the possum will never be eradicated in New Zealand. The NZ government has come to accept that the possum may never be completely eliminated." [Debandada - another possum exploiter and perpetuator.]

What pathetic defeatism! And I thought Kiwis were no longer slow, except perhaps at cricket.

1080 is a proven cruel poison. It is used by backward states and dare I say by Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (note how 'Environment' gets remindedly tagged on at the end). Hopefully less backward after this last election.

Yes, the New Zealand Government pends NZ80 million a year of taxpayers money supposedly 'controlling' the possum, but is it getting anywhere? If I were a NZ taxpayer I would like to see DOC's credit card statements.

To answer your question about NZ DOC, read the following previous article I posted 4-Dec-09 to attempt to problem solve this ecologically damaging NZ issue. Send a copy to NZ DOC. Get 'em to reply. Get 'em off their arses!

Blaming the possum is crack brained backward. It's like blaming someone for being adopted. Think about it. Kiwi prejudice is found no stronger than in the rampant hatred for Australian possums. I think it must be a cultural inferiority complex, but Kiwis introduced them, so start acting mature and deal with the problem.

Brushtail Possums are a destructive pest in NZ - but is persevering with a backyard fur trade New Zealand's ethical solution?

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

Subject was: 1080 (poison) is rarely used

Firstly 1080 is rarely used in the eradication of the possums in NZ, after speaking with a few trappers they advised that cyanide, the most humane culling method is used to restrict numbers. (That research was just a few simple phone calls by the way).

I personally would much rather see numbers controlled than letting the animal continue to destroy the environment for birds and other wildlife. Culling the possum saves many species including the iconic kiwi.

The Possum in NZ cannot be reintroduced into Australia because over many years they have changed to adapt to the NZ environment. I would be interested to hear any solution you have to catching the millions that are out there and moving them back to Australia, I am guessing so would DOC NZ.

The NZ government has made a decision on this, the possum is going to be culled no matter what you say as number are increasing. So why criticise the people in the industry, they are in fact just utilising the many attributes of the Brushtail Possum fibre for products, would you rather that all those jobs were lost and the industry just culled the possum and left them on the forest bed. That makes no sense.

Your statement "Kiwi prejudice is found no stronger than in the rampant hatred for Australian possums. I think it must be a cultural inferiority complex, but Kiwis introduced them, so start acting mature and deal with the problem."

Do do you know for a fact that a NZer introduced them? Did you research this and what was your source?

This statement further displays that this article is just an opinion that has very little truth, the research is weak and your understanding of the problem is limited to your narrow minded view.

I believe that Tigerquolls’s statement that “Kiwi prejudice is found no stronger than in the rampant hatred for Australian possums” is particularly relevant given the appalling accounts given in the media today of NZ school children throwing possums in a fund raising event. I would hope that the school principal’s defence of this disgusting event is not indicative of the general New Zealand attitude towards this introduced species.

On that note it is worth mentioning that New Zealand was responsible for the introduction of the brushtail possum. Several websites including those that peddle possum products clearly state that the possum was introduced into NZ to establish a fur industry.

Initially in the early day’s possum's where protected to allow their numbers to increase for the fur trade. There where 36 batches of possums imported and released into New Zealand mostly by the Acclimatisation Societies between 1858 until about 1921 when the New Zealand Government prohibited further releases.

That sounds like an organised group effort to me. This research was just a few clicks by the way.

Interesting that on the same site they mention:

Many anti-fur people will argue that by allowing a fur trade to exist, you are by default making sure that the possum will never be eradicated in New Zealand.

Isn’t it entirely appropriate that the 1000 or so possums killed on this fun filled day for the kids were then taken to a local fur trader to raise money for the school. Once again the fur industry wins!

But the school wins as well! And in the words of the principal:

Beyond the fund-raising that took place the real positives of this event were that children got to engage with the outdoors, learned that guns are tools and not toys and gained a greater understanding of what it means to be humane in the destruction of pests


Here is another cruelty case against a native some Morons on Rottnest Island ... As long as this government keeps handing out baby bonuses, to the imbeciles in our society this problem will go on ... and I cant believe the cancer of Baby on Board car signs has reached Australia ... I don't give a shit if you have a baby on board.. ... It's not like you are an endangered species ... It makes my blood boil ...

Police are investigating an attack on a quokka on Rottnest Island yesterday.

Acting Sgt Matt Oakley said police had been alerted by a member of the public to a quokka found badly injured in bushes about 12:20am. He said the quokka had a bloodied head and appeared to have been kicked or hit by a human.

Police interviewed a 20-year-old man who was found nearby with what appeared to be blood on his shoe.

Acting Sgt Oakley said police would wait on forensic analysis of the blood before deciding whether to charge the man.

The quokka was being looked after by rangers and a veterinarian was headed to the island to treat the animal.

"It's just a terrible thing to happen to a quokka, which is just a defenceless little animal," he said.

The man and two of his friends, aged 19 and 20, were evicted from the island about 4am.

Police are also investigating the vandalism of a police vehicle, which was found daubed with graffiti and smeared with human excrement.

I classify the possum tossing exercise as a form of child abuse not to mention the obvious abuse of possums. I say that because it is a killing spree culminating in total lack of respect for the bodies of the possums. This is a disgusting example for children to follow and is inculcating sadism and devaluation of life. Of course Australia too has dysfunctional school children - the ones who recently tortured and killed a defenceless kangaroo whilst on a school weekend excursion. At least this was behind their teachers' backs, not condoned by them and disciplinary measures will be taken.
With regard to the creature who hurt the quokka, I hope he goes to gaol for a long time as a way of protecting other animals and the rest of us.
"Baby on board"- is indeed not an endangered species. In fact it's a potential menace.

[Re comment 'Utilization of NZ Brushtail Possum fibre justifies culling' [Anonymous kiwi 23rd September 2010]

Where are the NZ stats on cyanide use as a poison for possums? It is dangerous for humans to use as a poison and so dubious it is made available.

"I personally would much rather see numbers controlled than letting the animal continue to destroy the environment for birds and other wildlife." Agree.

"Culling the possum saves many species including the iconic kiwi."
How so? How is the nocturnal tree-dwelling vegetarian possum a threat to the diurnal, ground-dwelling, worm eating kiwi bird? NZ DOC evidence shows that dogs, cats, stoats and ferrets (all introduced) are the main threats to Kiwi birds.

"Introduced predators are the biggest threat. Stoats and cats kill 95 per cent of kiwi chicks before they are six months old. Adult kiwi are often killed by ferrets and dogs."

So where is the NZ cultural hatred for dogs, stoats, ferret and cats in New Zealand, if the core NZ concern is indeed for the Kiwi bird? Is not the NZ cultural hatred of the possum reflective of a NZ cultural inferiority complex of anything Australian?

The introduction of the Australian brushtail by colonial New Zealanders is an inherited burden for current New Zealanders to resolve. I have only suggested repatriation to introduce some lateral thinking to the problem. Possums are territorial so relocating them as adults will not work. The preferred solution would be complete but humane, DOC/RSPCA-supervised culling on a region by region basis. Any use of the possum for human gain perpetuates New Zealand's immoral and backward fur trade.

Labelling possum slaughter an 'industry' is backward, like the Japanese slaughtering dolphins and whales, and indeed Australian's slaughtering rabbits for fur hats.

Culling animal pest species needs to be science based and humane, not profit based and not using 1080 or traps.

I care not for blood money jobs. Those in it should get a real job.

The only narrow mindedness in this issue is the New Zealanders' cultural hate for possums yet contentment to pursue a backward fur trade and so perpetuate the cause of that hatred. For a NZ school to engage in 'possum throwing' just confirms this backwardness.

The perpetuation of a Possum Fur Trade across New Zealand rural communities reflects a cultural insularity.

The new US movie 'Winters Bone' set in hillbilly Missouri could have been made just as easily in New Zealand - it is about a backward culture of poorly educated insular and dysfunctional families locked in entrenched poverty and crime prone. No wonder so many New Zealanders have opted to emigrate to Australia.

Suggan Buggan
Snowy River Region
Victoria 3885