When Shrek the merino sheep first fled the flock in the year 3 B.L.O.T.R. [ie., 1998], New Zealand was best known for, uh, kiwi fruit? Dancing rugby players? Having more sheep than people? Frankly, I can't tell you.
But when he emerged from his cave in Autumn 2004 with six years' worth of unshorn wool on his back, his homeland had been taken over by Hobbits and orcs and nerdy, large-waisted
American [d'oh] film directors.
Shrek was determined to take his country back for the sheep, though. And you know what? He did, and he got a free blanket and a book deal in the process:
[Shrek's] shearing in Cromwell was shown on nationwide television, and Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has met Shrek on two occasions. Now his story has been written by the children of Tarras School near his birthplace, and beautifully illustrated by local Tarras resident Jenny Chisholm. The book has been published by the school to raise funds needed for maintenance and equipment... The story of Shrek is told through the eyes of the children who have been involved with him from the time when he was discovered.and brought down from his hiding place.Ten thousand copies of Shrek, the Famous Hermit Sheep of Tarras were printed, and I guess the maintenance needs are all taken care of, because no more are available. You'll have to prowl Amazon and Abebooks and buy a used/collector copy for $40-75.
Check Amazon for copies of Shrek, the Famous Hermit Sheep of Tarras [amazon]
The making of: Hermit Merino New Zealand sheep, Shrek [nzine.co.nz via thingamababy]