We went to The 2010 Great New Zealand Muster in Te Kuiti on Saturday. There was an entire festival and a sheep shearing competition surrounding the ‘Running of the Sheep’, but that was the only part we were interested in seeing. We arrived about an hour before the sheep parade, walked around the festival, bought a hot dog and an alpaca scarf before finding a nice shady spot to watch the sheep run by.
At precisely 2pm about 2,000 sheep were released from their holding pin and raced down the street.
At first we were a little annoyed with ourselves for driving 2 hours through curvy roads to see 5 minutes of sheep running through a town. As soon as the last sheep went by we were racing to our car – then we saw the sheep again. Had we caught up to them? That doesn’t make sense, they were running pretty fast.
Turns out they were stopped – and confused. The sheep didn’t know what to do! They were turning back and forth, jumping on top of one another and going in circles, which is pretty hard for 2,000 sheep to do on a small street! LOL
It was awesome watching the chaos. AND I got to touch a sheep! They had packed into one section of the parade so tightly that they were up against the tarp.
oh, very amusing – to keep the sheep on the street a tarp-like sheet of plastic was rolled down both sides of the street – the spectators held one side of the tarp to create a fence. LOL I could never see such relaxed measures in the states.
Observers, probably men who own sheep themselves, stepped up and and made whooo noises to keep the sheep behind the flimsy barrier. A lady near me got stepped on and her toe was covered with poo! LOL I didn’t hold the tarp – I stepped back and stood on something to see above everyone’s heads.
I only went forward when I could pet a calmer sheep. The nice New Zealanders heard I never touched a sheep before and made a nice space for me – told me not to be afraid. LOL
It was sooo much fun! If you are in New Zealand in April definitely check out the 2011 Running of the Sheep. If you are looking for souviners to take home this is also a great place to be, as the festival was packed with all kinds of items, hand made scarves, wooden sheep figures and toys for kids.