THE POSSUM PEOPLE - New Zealand
History of Possum
The species of New Zealand's possum is Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula, from the Greek for "furry tailed" and the Latin for "little fox"). Brushtail possum is native to Australia. It has large and pointed ears and a bushy tail (hence its name).
In New Zealand, it was introduced in 1840s by European settlers, in an attempt to establish a fur industry. The quality of possum fur is very similar to sable. In fur industry, brushtail possum is always considered as top grade fur material. It is widely used in America, Italy, UK, Germany and etc.
Possum, like polar bear, has hollow-centre fur. This special structure will trap air inside the fibre, so that possum fibre is 30% warmer than wool and lighter at the same time. On top of that, unlike fox or ferret, possum fur is so extremely soft and comfortable to wear to your skin.
Since in New Zealand, brushtail possums are only threatned by humans and cats, they are more densely populated than in their native Australia. In 1950, the number of possum has risen to the point, 90 millions, where it is considered as a serious pest because of the damage they do to New Zealand native trees, plants and wildlife.
Trapping and hunting possum has always been encouraged by New Zealand government. Therefore, possum fur products are considered as ethical fur and we have a saying:
Buy a possum product, save a tree.