This website is for everyone interested in alpacas and their care, and has detailed information about breeding, shearing, fleece, health and welfare, cria, alpacas for sale and more. If you want to find out more about our farm tours, click here. If you are new to alpacas, Alpaca Facts, Frequently Asked Questions, and Why Buy Alpacas will introduce you to the basics, and show why alpacas are the smart option for lifestyle farmers! Otherwise, browse and enjoy!

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The Alpaca Place provides:

  • New Zealand Alpacas for Sale: We are well-established, highly reputable alpaca breeders. Worth travelling for! You’ll find the alpaca thats right for you, right here! We love helping people achieve their dreams – we offer interest free finance to suit your budget (conditions apply).
  • Export Quality alpacas: Look at the advantages of purchasing your alpacas from New Zealand, and the benefits of buying from The Alpaca Place
  • Interactive Farm Tours: Enjoy a family friendly farm tour – suitable for families, individuals and groups.
  • Outstanding Customer Commitment: You’ll enjoy unrivalled customer support and much, much more. You’ll spot the difference!
  • Free booklet: Interested in alpacas? Ensure you make an informed decision by reading the booklet “Discover Alpacas” before you buy. Available free in New Zealand only
  • Alpaca Fibre sales: You’ll love the feel and look of your handspun alpaca yarn
  • Newsletter: Published every 2-3 months and chock full of information on alpacas! Our value packed newsletter is by distribution list only – it is not a website resource, so sign up today.
  • Workshops and seminars: Valued at $300 + GST per person, available FREE to our customers! You’ll benefit from the opportunity to have hands on learning about your chosen livestock. We have workshops on how to handle and care for your alpacas, and seminars on breeding and ante-natal care of cria.
  • Stud Services: You’ll be impressed with our line-up of stunning stud males. Use them to improve the quality of your cria. New service: drive-by matings by selected studs are also available for a reduced fee. Ask for our Stud Services booklet – IT’S FREE!
  • Our website is a valuable resource. You can use it to research almost every aspect of alpaca management – it is regularly accessed by alpaca enthusiasts all over the world- see the menu on the right, or use the tabs at the top of the page to enter our website..

Our Location: The Alpaca Place lies in the beautiful Rangitumau Valley, Masterton, New Zealand – for more information on where to find us, click here. We are really easy to find, but if you plan to visit, we suggest you save our phone number – 06 372 5565 into your cell phone, so you can call us if you need to.
Pre-purchase Research: Thinking of investing in alpacas for breeding or as pets, and want to know more? We welcome visits to our farm so we can discuss your questions with you, and show you the many benefits of alpaca ownership and of connecting with us. We believe anyone who wants to own alpacas should have the opportunity to do so – so we offer interest free finance (conditions apply) to make the desirable affordable, and bring your dreams to life!

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News and Updates

The Pioneers: A brief history of the importation of alpacas to NZ

October 10, 2016
1864! Most people are unaware of this! A herd of 336 alpacas were shipped to Australia by Sir Charles Ledger. Many died on route, only 276 alpacas survived the sea journey, with some of the survivors ending up in Lyttleton, New Zealand. It is not known what happened to these alpacas in either Australia or New Zealand, as there are no descendents of either group.
120 years later, in 1985, Ian Nelson convinced the then Minister of Agriculture in NZ to change the status of alpacas and llamas from zoo animals to farm animals (see our earlier article on Ian Nelson).
1986: 2 alpacas and 3 llamas were air freighted from London Zoo by Ian Nelson, the start of the dream! 1 of these alpacas lived until she was 28 or 29, and following her death about 5 years ago, Ian finally retired from farming!
1987: A Wellington Syndicate had grand ideas to import 500 alpacas to NZ from Chile. However, the 1987 stock market crash destroyed this plan before it could be completed.
1988: Clyde and Roger Haldane imported 300 alpacas to NZ. These alpacas were destined for the US market, but remained in New Zealand until import protocols were organised with the US. This herd increased in size to several thousand before being finally shipped to the US. Thereafter the US imported alpacas direct from South America.
1989: Murray Bruce imports 273 alpacas from Chile after 4 1/2 years of negotiation. Despite receiving an import permit in 1986, protocols were not finalised until 1987, and an outbreak of foot and mouth in Chile delayed the export until Chile was declared disease free in 1988.
The rest as they say, is history!

Posted By: Cheryl

The smallest alpaca

September 23, 2016

img_6101Our first cria for the season was born on 20 September. Rather small – weighing in at under 6kg, and managed to get chilled in the cold wind, so lost a lot of strength. We put a cover on the cria and brought mother and baby inside where the baby also sat on a hot water bottle – she was able to cush, but not stand. We bottle fed the cria with milk and glucose so it could regain strength – but it was the next day before the cria could stand and feed from mother.A true black – as you can see from the photo, no brown tinge on this cria! And just to show we don’t always get it right, after 2 days of thinking we had a male cria, we discovered in fact, we have a female!

Posted By: Cheryl

Our Pioneers – Ian and Virginia Nelson

September 5, 2016

The Alpaca industry has now been in New Zealand for around 30 years, and our industry pioneers have long since moved on, their fascinating stories lost. However, here in Masterton still lives the man responsible for introducing alpacas to New Zealand and the world. We were lucky enough to meet up with Ian Nelson again recently when he was a guest at our local alpaca group. Now aged 90, Ian retired from farming alpacas only about 5 years ago. We took the opportunity to catch up with some of Ian’s reminiscences on how he became involved with alpacas.

Ian and his wife Virginia (Dinny) were Masterton sheep farmers most of their lives. In 1985, Ian decided to retire, passing his sheep farm on to the next generation. However, as with most farmers, his heart was in the land, and he and Dinny decided to buy a small holding (around 10 acres) up near Taupo. Having farmed sheep and cattle for 40 years, they decided they wanted to do “something different” as their retirement hobby, and started to investigate farming llamas. At that stage, their were about 5 llamas in New Zealand in zoos, and Ian managed to acquire 3 of them. During Ians study of llamas as a potential hobby, he also heard about alpacas – but nobody knew anything about them.

Ian and Dinny then decided they would take a vacation in Chile, and while they were holidaying would take the opportunity to investigate acquiring some llamas to bring to New Zealand, and would also take a look at some alpacas if they could. It is now history that Ian was blown away by the fleece of the Chilean alpacas, and from that moment on, llamas were no longer part of the equation – especially as Dinny had found the llamas too large and overpowering.

Ian then returned to New Zealand and applied for a licence to import alpacas from Chile – and was turned down flat by our Government, who were concerned alpacas might bring exotic diseases into New Zealand that could potentially devastate our existing sheep and cattle industries.

However, Ian was not going to give up. He enthusiastically promoted alpacas as a future farming option for New Zealand to anyone who would listen – and their were a number of people who became caught up in his excitement. This group of people continued to lobby the government for permission to import alpacas for farming, and eventually gained a partial agreement from the NZ Government, on condition that Ian and his associates built a quarantine station on Niue Island in the Pacific, and paid to have it managed by Agresearch staff.  While they were on Niue Island, they would be studied to ensure they carried no diseases that could affect sheep, cattle and other primary industries.

Obviously, the experiment worked! With Ian finally granted permission to import alpacas, things turned out to be not quite that simple, as there were no rules (protocols) regarding the importation of alpacas into New Zealand from South America. So while the New Zealand and Chilean governments started working on protocols, Ian (who had been years lobbying the government) was too impatient to wait any longer. He was given permission to import some alpacas from a zoo, and so his first 3 alpacas actually came from London Zoo. One of the females, a brown, was extremely “spitty” and was given the nickname “Vomiting Violet”!

Without meaning to, Ian became a world changer – as soon as New Zealand agreed to the farming of alpacas, many other countries (Australia, UK, Europe, USA, Canada) quickly followed suit, with the result that many of the first alpacas  imported into New Zealand by various entrepreneurs who had jumped on the bandwagon, bounced out of New Zealand to the rest of the world within months of arriving here.

Ian continued to farm alpacas for around 20 years, only making his second retirement a few years ago, when “Vomiting Violet” died, aged 28 (because she was purchased from a zoo, unlike other imports, her birthday was known).

Alpaca owners the world around owe an enormous debt to Ian and Virginia Nelson.

Posted By: Cheryl


August 28, 2016

Winter is the time we make time for ……changes. This year it was the turn of wisteria in our back garden to come in for a tidy up. Since we have been at The Alpaca Place, the wisteria has grown, and grown ….and grown, until it not only covered the punga fence back extended over the front of studio at one end, and over the top of our potting shed at the other. Probably would have grown into the raceway, too, but a frequent application of alpaca teeth at least kept it trimmed there.

The punga log fence was starting to collapse under the weight of age and the wisteria, so that needed replacing too, so Liz and Gordon got busy with the loppers and trimmed the wisteria right back to a stump, carting trailer full after trailer full of branches to our fire pit. A convenient storm blew the now unconnected wisteria off the top of the potting shed after Liz had spent hours worrying about how she could get it off!

The punga logs were removed by Gordon and carted off for burning, and then Liz and Gordon rebuilt a new, and stronger fence for the wisteria to grow over. Now all we have to do is wait for the wisteria to resprout (and if it doesn’t we’ll plant a replacement). In the mean time we may plant some sweet pea to cover the brand new fence until the wisteria takes over.

As it was! The wisteria covered everything!

As it was! The wisteria covered everything!

The job half done - wisteria gone, new fence going up

The job half done – wisteria gone, new fence going up

The new fence now in place, waiting for the wisteria to grow

The new fence now in place, waiting for the wisteria to grow


Posted By: Cheryl

Yet another use for alpaca – weedmat!

August 22, 2016

I am not much of a gardener, preferring to spend time on the farm or with the alpacas. However, I  love eating raspberries! So a few years ago I dealt with my anti-gardening prejudice and bought a few canes of raspberries, which have been producing delicious raspberries every year ever since.

As with all gardening, the worst part is the weeds, as as they grow when I am busiest on the farm, most years the raspberries have to compete with them, while I make the occasional effort to remove them.

This year I decided to try something different. I have long known that scrap alpaca was reputed to make a great weed mat, and as we had a number of odd scraps of alpaca lying around, I decided to make the effort to see how it works. After pruning, and hoeing the raspberry patch to remove as many weed seedlings as possible, I laid down a thick layer of compost to ensure the raspberries had sufficient food and moisture, and then carefully laid down a patchwork of alpaca fibre (quite a bit came from wool samples taken at our 2009 shearing and never sent for testing – it was a trip down nostalgia lane, as with one exception, all these alpacas had been sold).

So now all I have to do is wait and see how effective alpaca fibre is as a weedmat. I did strike a problem today when wind threatened to blow all the fibre from the garden, but got around that issue by dampening down the fibre.IMG_6006

Posted By: Cheryl

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