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Quantification of historical livestock importation into New Zealand 18601979


Binney, BM and Biggs, PJ and Carter, PE and Holland, BR and French, NP, Quantification of historical livestock importation into New Zealand 1860-1979, New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 62, (6) pp. 309-314. ISSN 0048-0169 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 New Zealand Veterinary Association

DOI: doi:10.1080/00480169.2014.914861


Aims: To quantify the numbers of live cattle, sheep and poultry imported into New Zealand and, where possible, their country of origin from 1860 to 1979.

Methods: Information on the origin and number of live animal importations into New Zealand was collected for cattle, sheep and poultry for the period 18681979 from the annual reports compiled by the New Zealand Registrar General's Office, Government Statistician's Office, Census and Statistics Office, Census and Statistics Department, Customs Department and Department of Statistics. Census data from 1851 to 1871 were also used to estimate the livestock population during this period. The number of animals imported and the mean population for each species in a decade were determined, and the major countries of origin were identified.

Results: A large number of cattle (53,384) and sheep (604,525) were imported in the 1860s, and then there was a marked reduction in importations. Live poultry were imported in relatively small numbers (20,701) from 1880 to 1939, then 1,564,330 live poultry were imported between 1960 and 1979. Australia was the predominant country of origin for sheep between 1868 and 1959 (51,347/60,918; 84.3%) and of cattle between 1868 and 1979 (10,080/15,157; 66.5%). Only 6,712 (11.0%) sheep and 3,909 (25.8%) cattle were imported from the United Kingdom over the same periods, and even fewer from other countries.

Conclusions: The collated data and historical reports show that from 1860 to 1979 Australia has been the main source of livestock introduced into New Zealand. The pattern of importation showed that large numbers of cattle and sheep were initially imported in the 1860s, probably in response to rapid agricultural expansion. Thereafter importations continued at much reduced numbers. In contrast, relatively small numbers of poultry were introduced until the 1960s when large numbers were imported as part of the development of a modern high-production industry. The overall pattern for both cattle and sheep was of a bottleneck event, as initially a relatively limited number of animals arrived from outside populations, followed by population expansion with ongoing but limited immigration (admixture). Investigation into the genetic population structure of New Zealand's cattle and sheep, as well as their host-associated microorganisms, could reflect the impact of these early historical events.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, New Zealand, cattle, sheep, poultry, demography, importation
Research Division:Mathematical Sciences
Research Group:Applied mathematics
Research Field:Biological mathematics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences
UTAS Author:Holland, BR (Professor Barbara Holland)
ID Code:97230
Year Published:2014
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT100100031)
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2014-12-08
Last Modified:2017-10-30

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