The New Zealand exclusive possum merino blend yarn is a growing trend in the local and international fashion markets. The blend is known for its soft touch, warmth and resilience, bringing together the best properties of merino sheep wool and possum fur fibre, two of the warmest natural fibres.
Possum merino garment by Manawatu Knitting Mills - one of
the six main knitters in NZ using possum merino yarn
Merino sheep is one of the oldest sheep breeds in the world and they thrive in some of the coldest and warmest places – in New Zealand they are mostly bred in the South Island high country, which exposes them to temperatures up to 35° in summer and down to -20° in winter. They survive such extreme temperatures because the merino wool keeps them cool during summer isolating them from the heat and allowing their bodies to breathe, and retain warmth during winter.
Possum fur has similar properties, but it is even warmer and lighter than merino because of its hollow core fibre (only polar bears have this kind fibre apart from possums). This makes the possum thread 50% warmer than merino by itself and 35% lighter, as it traps air in its hollow fibres providing warmth without weight. It is also much warmer than cashmere although with similar incredible soft touch.
Possum merino winter wear and possum fur
pieces at Untamed by Basically Bush shop
The combination of the two threads makes for a stretchy, resilient yarn that doesn’t pill easily, is really comfortable to wear, lets the body breathe, offers great insulation, absorbs moisture and doesn’t hold odour (it naturally resists bacteria that cause unpleasant body odours). Such all-round qualities have made the fabric one of the favourite winter clothing for kiwis and visitors. It attracts a lot of tourists’ attention and exports have been growing steadily.
Basically Bush is the biggest possum fur fibre provider
in the possum merino NZ industry
Wearing possum merino garments is great way to support local business and to protect the environment. As possums are not native to New Zealand and cause serious environmental problems, - they damage crops, and eat native bush, trees and birds -, harvesting them helps protecting New Zealand’s unique native fauna and flora, as they have no natural predators. Each year Basically Bush, Untamed’s mother brand, provides fibre from around a million possum pelts to the possum merino industry, which means a million less possum feasting on New Zealand’s environmental richness.