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Merino industry leads return to Christchurch

The primary sector is taking a lead role in supporting Christchurch’s economic recovery with the announcement that The New Zealand Merino Company’s 2012 conference will be held in the city. Leading industry figures including Jeremy Moon, founder of Icebreaker, and Keith Cooper, chief executive of Silver Fern Farms, will join around 500 merino growers at the event in a major show of support and confidence in Christchurch and its future. The conference is the first event of its type to return to Christchurch since last year’s devastating earthquakes.

John Brakenridge, chief executive of The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM), said “The people involved in the merino industry are innovators and adaptors. This conference will be strongly future-focused, which makes it a great fit for a city that is rebuilding.”

The conference will highlight the value that is being realised through differentiating meat and fibre in global markets and leveraging international business partnerships. The merino industry is performing well, with both meat and wool trading at high prices and The New Zealand Merino Company is working closely with the government to further enhance productivity and returns for growers through the Primary Growth Partnership-funded New Zealand Sheep Industry Transformation Project (NZSTX).

The bi-annual merino conference has traditionally been held in Christchurch, however alternative options such as Auckland and Queenstown were considered for the 2012 event before deciding that now, more than ever, it was important to demonstrate a commitment to the company’s home town.

This year’s event will run alongside the Otago Merino Association’s annual Merino Excellence Awards, which are being held outside of Otago for the first time. Brakenridge said the conference and awards would celebrate industry success to date and encourage innovative thinking to drive ongoing developments.

"We need to look beyond our industry and understand new technologies, global consumer and retail trends in order to grow the market and support our growers and brand partners. Our aim is to challenge, motivate and drive creative thinking”, explained Brakenridge.

The New Zealand Merino conference will take place at the CBS Canterbury Arena on 30 April 2012. Delegates will include merino and mid-micron growers from around New Zealand, along with business leaders and international brand partners.

The New Zealand Merino Company Ltd (NZM)

NZM is an integrated sales, marketing, and innovation company focused on transforming New Zealand’s merino sheep industry.

NZM selectively partners with the world’s best brands, operating as a business extension by providing greater depth through specific expertise, and creating loyal brand advocates.

NZM’s brands include Zque, a guarantee of the best merino fibre available, and SILERE alpine origin merino, New Zealand’s premium merino meat brand.