The New Zealand Red Deer is the best breed of deer known to the world, not simply because of the natural environment, luscious grass and an unpolluted environment here in New Zealand, but most importantly, it is because of the industry’s continuous efforts to improve the care and quality of the Red Deer.
The large scale commercial farming of deer started in New Zealand, and New Zealand remains the world's largest and most advanced deer farming industry. Since the first licenced deer farm in 1970, New Zealand now has around 2000 farmers farming approximately 1 million deer.
Deer are not native to New Zealand. The first deer were brought to New Zealand from England and Scotland for sport in the mid-late 19th century, and released mainly in the Southern Alps and foothills. But the environment of abundant hills, luscious grass and constant climate proved ideal for deer and their wild population grew.
Industry pioneers saw this as an opportunity to farm deer and specific breeds such as the Cervus elaphus in 1861, followed by Dama dama in 1864, China Sika and the most precious Elaphurus davidianus in 1885 was introduced to improve the breeding stock.