Digitalising Wool: Campaign for Wool's bold plan to engage the next generation of Kiwi farmers

Digitalising Wool: Campaign for Wool's bold plan to engage the next generation of Kiwi farmers

Tom O'Sullivan from Campaign for Wool NZ was summoned to alongside Wool Impact and Wools of New Zealand provide the Primary Produce Select Committee with an update on how the wool industry is tracking compared to where they want it to be in the future.

"I think we are all in agreement there is massive potential, we just need to get on with it," O'Sullivan said.

He described the current state of the wool industry in Aotearoa as "critical" and is concerned that Kiwi farmers are not making the money they should be from such a valuable product.

"The stark reality in New Zealand is that 85% of the wool we produce is strong wool and every farmer growing strong wool is losing money on it.

Despite the current situation looking rather bleak, O'Sullivan is optimistic there is a more positive and profitable future that is looking likely for the wool industry.

"The continued and growing movement of consumers globally away from plastics and synthetics is getting stronger and stronger.

"It's probably the best tailwind natural fibres, including wool, has had in decades."

He told George Campaign for Wool aims to focus on awareness and education around wool and woollen products. 

Part of this is two newly refurbished shipping containers with all things wool as part of their 'Wool in Schools' program which explains all things wool, such as the process of wool, growing it and the products that can come from it to Primary Schools across the website.

"Not only a physical refurbishment of the interior and the exterior of the containers but we have also completely redone all of the course material and we have brought it all up to today's standards.

"It's all digitalised including a virtual tool so that's a really cool asset that we've got and we are about to launch that in Auckland to media in a couple of weeks' time."

While it won't likely be anything as physically large as a shipping container, O'Sullivan said Campaign for Wool NZ is also working on digital resources to promote education and careers in wool for intermediate and secondary school students.

He also talked more about their website which has a number of different resources and a wide variety of information and some of their other plans to promote natural fibres and the wool industry in particular to the next generation of rural Kiwis.