Tirau's iconic sheep, ram, and dog buildings for sale


After 23 years, the creators and owners of the iconic Sheep, Ram and Dog buildings in Tirau are putting them up for sale.

Sitting on a prime corner on State Highway 1, the buildings have been much-loved  and photographed by locals, tourists and people passing through the town since their creation. 

John and Nancy Drake, the creators and current owners of the buildings, built the sheep back in 1994.

Nancy Drake's favourite hobby was to create and sell woollen goods, so the pair decided to set up a shop. They had to market their products to tourists, John says, because "New Zealanders just weren't buying wool".

They chose to build a barn on the Tirau site to sell from because it was an affordable option. But the tourists just weren't interested.

"No one stopped for the first three months," John said, and so the idea came about to create a corrugated iron sheep's head to cover the barn.

Tirau's iconic sheep, ram, and dog buildings for sale

The sheep was the first to be built, the ram joined it in 2005

After that, they could hardly turn people away and business boomed.

The pair even lived inside the sheep for a period of time, but found it to be very noisy due to the constant streams of traffic passing by.

In 1998, the dog came along to house public bathrooms and an information centre, leased by the South Waikato District Council. In 2005, the ram completed the trio, providing extra amenities and showroom space.

Tirau's iconic sheep, ram, and dog buildings for sale

The dog houses an information centre and public bathrooms

With a 3/5 rating on Trip Advisor reviewers have praised the spot for attracting "a constant stream of selfie takers," and one reviewer said "You can travel the world and not see galvanised iron animals which double as shops anywhere else."

However not all reviewers are so impressed, with one saying that it is "not a gee-whiz attraction".

Now in their mid-70s, the couple are hoping to sell off the buildings and downsize. The site is being offered for sale in a tender process closing on November 9.