National Lamb Day: A unifying feast for Kiwis
Sheep & Beef
Sheep & Beef

National Lamb Day: A unifying feast for Kiwis

REX's latest episode with John Pemberton, chair of Ag Proud NZ, captures the essence of National Lamb Day, revealing it as more than a celebration of New Zealand's agrarian history; it's a unifier for the nation. 

Pemberton vividly recounts the perils and triumphs of the first meat shipment in 1882, saying, "The remarkable thing... was that all of it would have perished had [Captain Whitson] not literally risked his life."

He envisions a future where National Lamb Day is synonymous with national pride, noting, "We just want to see it being picked up and run a lot better and bigger as we get through the years."

Their dialogue, rich with historical anecdotes and forward-looking aspirations, positions National Lamb Day as a culinary embodiment of New Zealand's collective spirit.

Their discussion not only illuminates the historic voyage of the first meat shipment in 1882 but also explores the day's potential to unite Kiwis over the sizzle of succulent lamb.

Pemberton passionately describes the inception of National Lamb Day, a symbol of national pride that connects rural and urban Kiwis.

"It's not Beef and Lamb's day. It's not Totra State's day, or Port of Otago or FMG's day... This is National Lamb Day for all the Kiwis," Pemberton states, underscoring the day's inclusive spirit.

George and Pemberton also discuss the practical aspects of celebrating National Lamb Day, including nationwide barbecues and special promotions in supermarkets. Pemberton's vision is clear.

"Let's just get everyone eating a chop."

He emphasises the day as a chance for "all walls and silos [to] get dropped and we're just there to have a great time."

As the conversation turns to the broader implications of the day, Pemberton reflects on the role of agriculture in the national consciousness.

"Society's got a lot of mistrust in it now... if we just dial the clock back a bit [to] just being a bit of genuine action," he muses, suggesting that National Lamb Day is an opportunity to return to genuine, agenda-free interactions.

As the nation gears up for National Lamb Day, it's clear that the humble lamb chop is more than a meal; it's a conduit for community, conversation, and shared heritage.

Listen to the full chat between Jon Pemberton and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Mornings live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

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