The New Zealand Romney has a long history originating as a separate breed on the cold, damp isolated Romney Marshes of Kent in the south of England. History records - "A long woolled, strong and highly valuable sheep has been kept on Romney Marsh since time immemorial" - hence the name 'Romney Marsh'.
The first importations of Romney sheep to New Zealand were by Messrs Bennett and Young, reaching Wellington in 1843.
Today the New Zealand Romney makes up over half of the 40 million sheep farmed in New Zealand. It is farmed, in the near sub tropical northern most parts of the north Island at 34 latitude south to the southern most tip of New Zealand at 47 latitude South. The New Zealand Romney is well recognised for it's ability to manage all the many varied climates that New Zealand has.
Romney New Zealand which was established in 1904 represents 130 Romney stud breeders who supply breeding rams for approximately 4000 commercial sheep farmers. Over the last few years it has extended it's role to include research and marketing of Romney wool. Recently Romney New Zealand has increased it's commitment in this area.
While the composition and quality of the New Zealand wool clip has changed over the last 10 years, the traits such as low vegetable matter, good whitness and brightness, good length and strength, remain key attributes of the New Zealand Romney wool and set it apart from the balance of the New Zealand production.