NZ possum: The not so cuddly side of our favourite yarn & why we love it
At ELKA, we're passionate about possum yarn - a luxurious and sustainable alternative to other natural fibres. It's full of harmonious contradictions, combining delicate softness with hardy durability, breathability with insulation, and lightness with undeniable warmth. But it's important to consider the effects of possum production on our environment, especially in New Zealand.
Before colonization, New Zealand was predator-free, but the introduction of the Brushtail Possum from Australia in the early 19th century caused their populations to boom, making them one of the country's greatest ecological threats. These omnivorous animals not only feast on native vegetation that is unable to withstand their herbivorous onslaught, but they also pillage the nests of native bird species, causing devastation to our bird populations.
The Department of Conservation has breeding programs to help our bird populations recover, but they also have eradication programs that aim to reduce possum populations. Possum population control is essential to protect our native flora and fauna, and it is through these programs that possum fur is collected.
Once collected, the de-haired soft down of the possum is blended with the highest quality ultra-fine Merino and Mulberry Silk to create a luxurious and exclusive fibre. We love possum yarn for its warmth, resistance to pilling, and moisture-repelling properties. These unique qualities are due to the hollow structure of the possum fibre and the careful finishing processes used during creation.
Incorporating possum yarn into our ELKA creations is not only a choice for luxury and comfort, but it's also an ecologically conscious choice that supports conservation efforts in New Zealand.