Zealana combines possum fur with a range of other fibres to create stunning yarns. Why possum?
The possum fur used for Zealana yarns is actually a by-product of a large scale culling program undertaken by the New Zealand government.
Possums are a native protected species in Australia, but in New Zealand, they are the country's most destructive pest.
In the late 19th century, fur traders brought possums to New Zealand. And just like rabbits and cane toads in Australia, possums have no natural predators in New Zealand, and their population quickly exploded. It is estimated that New Zealand now has a possum population of around 30-40 million animals. That is seven to ten possums per New Zealander!
Possums are highly destructive in the New Zealand context. They consume approximately 21 thousand metric tons of vegetation every day, resulting in habit destruction for the endangered kiwi bird and many other animals.
The New Zealand government is running an ongoing culling program to reduce the number of possums in the country to protect New Zealand's native flora and fauna. This program continues, whether the fur gets used or not.
The use of possum fiber in knitting yarns and cloth products turns what otherwise would be a waste product into a beautiful resource.
Possum fur has several attributes that make it a superiour fibre for clothing, knitwear and yarns. It is very soft and durable. It has a lesser tendency to pill compared to other luxury fibres such as Merino or Cashmere.Possum fibre is hollow which makes it both light weight and warm. When comparing the same weight of fibre, possum is 55% warmer than Merino and 35% warmer than cashmere.