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Alpaca ownership or entrepreneurship? The New Zealand case

Abel Duarte Alonso (Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 20 February 2009




Alpaca ownership in New Zealand has been developing in recent years. However, very little academic research has been conducted in this area, particularly from alpaca owners' points of view. This exploratory study attempts to close some of the knowledge gaps in this area.


Between April and June 2006, a total of 233 alpaca owners located in both the North and South Islands of New Zealand participated in the study by completing a questionnaire.


While the overall results confirm the importance of the lifestyle dimension among New Zealand alpaca owners, the existence of many respondents whose operations are open to the public and who own a larger number of alpacas suggests more than just lifestyle motivations, but rather an intention to exploit commercial opportunities in this activity.

Research limitations/implications

There is an acknowledged limitation regarding the quantitative approach used here. Such an approach may have limited the ability to capture insightful perspectives, for example, in the form of respondents' experiences that are unique to qualitative research.

Practical implications

Implications for New Zealand's alpaca ownership include the need for operators and industry bodies to increase their knowledge, particularly their marketing knowledge, in view of the growing volume of alpaca‐related products, such as their fleece.


The study presents insights into a rural activity in New Zealand that so far has received very limited attention from academic research. The exploratory nature of the study also provides an avenue for future studies to further explore small and medium rural enterprises that, as in the case of the alpaca industry, are currently emerging industries.



Duarte Alonso, A. (2009), "Alpaca ownership or entrepreneurship? The New Zealand case", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 78-92.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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