FMG clients Frank and Anya Walkington have turned their love for alpacas into a business. And despite the ups and downs of COVID have kept their eye on opportunities, not road blocks.

Frank and Anya Walkington were initially drawn to Alpacas by the animal’s gentle nature, quirky personalities, and large eyes.

After a holiday in New Zealand, they decided to relocate from the small Caribbean island of St Maarten and started out with five animals on 24 acres near Auckland.

They quickly expanded their knowledge around genetics and fibre and became involved with the NZ Alpaca Association.

In 2011, with a herd of 55 they moved to the South Island and a larger piece of land in French Farm, an hour from Christchurch on the picturesque Banks Peninsula.

With past experience in the tourism and cruise ship industry, the couple saw an opportunity to share their animals with tourists from around the world with farm tours.

Also seeing the potential of Alpaca fleece, Anya worked with New Zealand based knitwear manufacturers and produced a range of Shamarra clothing, blankets and accessories

The tours have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but with genetics and breeding at the heart of their operation and a herd of 160 animals, they continue to export Shamarra progeny to Europe as well as their beautiful clothing, blankets, and accessories.

Despite the ups and downs their business has had during COVID-19, Anya says FMG has always had their back.

“We’ve had phenomenal customer service from FMG. We can call up any time, they’re always there for us.”