Charitable farming organisation Ag Proud is looking to reinstate National Lamb Day to New Zealand calendars on the new date of February 15.
The original date of May 24 was chosen as the date the first shipment of New Zealand lamb arrived on British shores aboard the Dunedin in 1882.
February 15 marks the date the Dunedin disembarked from Port Chalmers, which fittingly coincides with this year's Southern Field Days in Waimumu, where the celebration will be re-launched.
Ag Proud chairperson Jon Pemberton says the first lamb export was more than a voyage, but the start of New Zealand's journey as a global food powerhouse.
"National Lamb Day is our way of honouring this legacy, celebrating our incredible kai, and acknowledging every individual involved in its journey from farm to fork."
Pemberton is encouraging Kiwis to "raise a chop in salute our food champions" and says it doesn't matter what Kiwis throw on the barbecue as long as it's New Zealand-grown food.
"Success would be if social media is swamped with people barbecuing New Zealand food."
Pemberton said it doesn't matter if people want to attend lamb day celebrations or do something in their own backyard.
National Lamb Day is a chance for farmers to consider 'left field' opportunities to address the sector's challenges and change how agriculture in New Zealand operates.
"I think there is an opportunity for farmers to realise there have been challenges and sacrifices in the past, and things won't change going forward unless we do things differently."
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is getting behind the initiative and supporting Ag Proud's efforts to reinstate National Lamb Day.
B+LNZ chief executive Kit Arkwright said he was pleased to be helping to establish an annual celebration.
"We hope this day can become an enduring yearly celebration of all New Zealand food; whether you are producing it or simply love eating it, you can take a moment to appreciate how delicious New Zealand food and lamb is," Arkwright said.
by Claire Inkson