The Kunekune (Māori pronunciation: [kʉnɛkʉnɛ])[1] is a small breed of domestic pig from New Zealand. Kunekune are hairy with a rotund build, and may bear wattles hanging from their lower jaws. Their colour ranges from black and white, to ginger, cream, gold-tip, black, brown, and tricoloured. They have a docile, friendly nature, and can successfully be kept as pets.[2]

Male (left), female (right), Kunekune pigs
Conservation statusRare
Country of originNew Zealand
  • Pig
  • Sus domesticus

History edit

The breed is believed to have descended from an Asian domestic breed introduced to New Zealand in the early 19th century by whalers or traders. They differ markedly from the feral pig of European origin known in New Zealand as a "Captain Cooker".[3] The native Māori people of New Zealand adopted Kunekune; kunekune is a Māori word meaning "fat and round".[4]

By the 1980s, only an estimated 50 purebred Kunekune remained. Michael Willis and John Simister, wildlife park owners, started a breeding recovery programme, which encouraged other recovery efforts. As of 2010, the breed no longer faces extinction, with breed societies in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In 1993, two were imported into the United States from the UK.[5]

Behaviour edit

In 2017, a report of Science Daily said the Kunekune has remarkable social learning with "astonishingly good memory".[6]

The Kunekune can sustain itself by feeding on nothing other than grass.[7]

Appearance edit

The Kunekune is covered in hair which can be long or short, and straight or curly. Hair colours include black, brown, ginger, gold, cream, and spotted combinations. It has a medium to short, slightly upturned snout, often black, and either semilopped or pricked ears. It has a short, round body with short legs and may have two wattles (called piri piri) under its chin. The Kunekune stands about 60 cm (24 in) tall. An adult Kunekune can weigh between 60 and 200 kg (130 and 440 lb), males being considerably heavier than females.[8]

Ginger Kunekune pig with short hair

As pets edit

Kunekune can be kept as pets in New Zealand and are a recognised breed of miniature pig.

Kunekune cannot be imported into Australia, as Australia does not allow the import of live pigs for biosecurity reasons.[9] However, breeders have created an alternative Australian breed: the Australian miniature pig.[10]

Kunekune can also be kept as pets in Austria,[11] Belgium,[11] Canada,[12] Denmark,[11] France,[13] Germany,[14] Ireland,[15] the Netherlands,[16] Portugal,[7] Switzerland[11] the United Kingdom[17] and the United States.[18]

References edit

  1. ^ "kunekune" – Māori Dictionary
  2. ^ "A Guide to Keeping Kunekune Pigs". Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  3. ^ "Captain Cooker" Archived 2010-09-05 at the Wayback Machine, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  4. ^ "About Kunekunes". The New Zealand Kunekune Association. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  5. ^ "The men who brought the kunekune pig back from the brink". Stuff. 2020-10-12. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  6. ^ "Kune Kune piglets possess social learning skills and have an astonishingly good memory". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  7. ^ a b "Iberia's first kunekune pigs born in Silves". Portugal Resident. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  8. ^ The New Zealand Kunekune Association. "'Miniature' kunekune pigs". The New Zealand Kunekune Association. Archived from the original on 2016-06-12. Retrieved 2015-08-07.
  9. ^ "Exporting Kunekunes". The New Zealand Kunekune Association. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  10. ^ Major, Tom (2017-09-24). "Mini pigs with big appeal: Popularity soars despite ownership restrictions". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  11. ^ a b c d "Information in English". Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  12. ^ "Our Kunekune Pigs". Whispering Wind Farms. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  13. ^ "Pigs called in to deep-clean Champagne vineyards". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 2023-02-24. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  14. ^ "Unsere Kune Kune" [Our Kunekune]. Josef Hof (in German). Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  15. ^ Connolly, Emma (2022-03-09). "Sky is the limit for Shane and KuneKune New Zealand pigs". The Southern Star. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  16. ^ "Kunekune Nederland" [Kunekune Netherlands]. Kunekune Vereniging Nederland (in Dutch). Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  17. ^ "Home". British Kunekune Pig Society. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  18. ^ "Home". KuneKune Preserve USA. Retrieved 2023-03-12.

External links edit