New Zealand introduces deer milk to market

Excitement's building among New Zealand's high-end chefs over a new world-first.

Deer milk is now being sourced from Southland to make cheese, desserts and even yoghurt.

And there's no better place than Fieldays to market a new product to the world - even if it might seem a little strange at first. The company behind it is Pāmu- formerly known as Landcorp - and it says it is dead serious.

"The first question we get from people walking by, is 'goodness me! How do you milk these things'," says Rob Ford, Pāmu's general manager of innovation, environment and technology,

The answer is with a milking machine. But it's not so easy and the deer have to be hand-reared. The powdered product comes from just 70 hind deer in Southland.

"We're really excited by it. This is a real thing that New Zealand agriculture really needs to start looking is around looking at alternative land use, looking at how we can go to volume to value," Mr Ford says.

The product is now being trialled in a number of high-end Auckland restaurants. Executive chef Geoff Scott says it's very exciting.

"It's not often in someone's career that you'd ever get to work with a brand-new product that you never even experimented with," he says.

So far the product's been made into a crème brûlée, a handmade cheese, yoghurt and even a milk sorbet.

"It's really subtle, it's really savoury, it's not a strong flavour it's really delicate," Mr Scott says.

It seems the uniqueness isn't putting people off.

"I've tried horse milk and goat and camel and cow and I'd imagine it'd taste like many of those," a member of the public told Newshub.

Pāmu has big plans for deer milk. It hopes the product will reach restaurants from New York to Paris. It's looking to produce cosmetic products as well.

But for now they're taking things slow, and hoping that Kiwis will enjoy it first.