Chapter 4 turns to colonial New Zealand where questions about the relationship of type to place played out on an imperial scale. As the global price of wool plummeted in the 1860s, pastoralists in New Zealand reconfigured their predominantly merino flocks to serve a new refrigerated trade between Great Britain and her Australasian colonies. Where New Zealand breeders had predominantly focused on wool production, with the advent of refrigerated shipping in the early 1880s, they began to breed for meat as well as wool. Colonial producers throughout Australasia discovered that British diners preferred the meat of British breeds: merino mutton from the colonies did not find a ready market in London. To satisfy the contradictory demands of colonial climate and topography, which varied from Britain’s, and metropolitan demand, New Zealand breeders constructed novel colonial breeds, like the Corriedale, forged out of a cross between British longwool stock and merino sheep. They touted these types as “native” colonial breeds, thereby adding another layer of complexity to the concept, and making a rhetorical claim as settlers of a distant land only recently wrested from the indigenous Maori people.
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