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Shrek, the famous New Zealand hermit sheep, features in children's book

Dorothy - 03/12/04

The thirteen children of Tarras School wrote his story to raise funds for their school

Book's cover
Book's cover
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Shrek, the merino sheep was born on Bendigo Station in Central Otago, but hiding in a cave on the remote hill country of the station he eluded musterers for six years. When he was found in autumn 2004 he was carrying an enormous fleece weighing 25 kilograms, and the shearing by blade shearer, Peter Casserly, yielded 22 kilograms of fine merino wool which was donated to the charity, Cure Kids. Shrek was given a warm woollen coat to compensate for the loss of his fleece.

Shrek in his new coat
Shrek in his new coat
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Shrek becomes a celebrity
The shearing in Cromwell was shown on nationwide television, and Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has met Shrek on two ocasions. 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.

Producing the book of Shrek
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. One of the children suggested the name Shrek because he looked like an ogre but was quiet and gentle. His ear tag proved that Shrek had been in isolation for six years, yet now that he has been surrounded by children, farm workers, admirers of all ages and journalists he has accepted their presence placidly and the children feel he is their friend. They.wrote the story with the help of their teachers, and since then have been involved in all stages up to the launch of the book.

Support from local people
"Friends of the School" (FOS), a volunteer group consisting mainly of parents of the children and their teachers, did all the preliminary work themselves to save expense until the copy was given to Taieri Print for the last stages of the book's production. They have received great support from Shrek's owner, John Perriam, and sponsorship from FMG Rural Financial Services. The children have assisted FOS wherever possible taking on tasks like colouring posters and writing invitations to the launch.

Jenny Chisholm, the mother of two pre-schoolers who are future pupils of Tarras School, worked under pressure to produce the illustrations in time for the November launch. She has captured in those drawings the essence of the story and the beautiful landscapes of Central Otago.

The FOS volunteers have carried an enormous load. The daughter of one volunteer said to her mother, "What was life like before Shrek?" to which her mother replied that she wasn't really sure as the wonderful train of events started by Shrek seemed to dominate life.

Visit to Taieri Print
Shrek and the children went to the printer in Dunedin and Shrek was shown the front cover as it came off the press. For the children this was an exciting occasion, and also an educational experience.

The climax - the launch
The book and a Shrek calendar have been officially launched in fromt of many invited guests and journalists. Shrek arrived at the launch in a stretch limousine with a SHREK number plate.

Shrek's number plate on the stretch limousine
Shrek's number plate on the stretch limousine
Photo source FOS
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Eight thousand copies of the book in English and two thousand copies in Japanese and five thousand calendars have been printed. The story is also available on DVD and on VHS.

'Shrek,the Famous New Zealand Hermit Sheep of Tarras' - book written by Tarras school pupils - raises school funds.


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