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Last Updated: Monday, 3 May, 2004, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Celebrity sheep meets NZ leader
Prime Minister Helen Clark with Shrek
Ms Clark remarked on how calm Shrek seemed
Shrek the New Zealand sheep, whose ability to avoid the shearers made him a global celebrity, has had an audience with Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The New Zealand leader emerged from a state luncheon with Chilean President Richard Lagos to meet the star merino.

Shrek evaded capture for six years by hiding in caves before losing his 27kg (60lb) fleece in a televised shearing.

He went to parliament to promote the children's charity Cure Kids but missed the state lunch - and its menu of lamb.

Shrek sported a special jacket made of merino wool to keep warm.

Ms Clark, who grew up on a farm, said she was amazed at how calm Shrek seemed.

Shrek before shearing
It was quite a different story this time last week
"It's as if he's been someone's pet for years," she said.

The Chilean president was also due to meet Shrek, but that job went to his agriculture minister Jamie Campos.

Merino sheep are normally sheared once a year, but 10-year-old Shrek slipped through the net.

He had managed to roam freely on New Zealand's South Island for six years before being spotted.

Shrek's owner, John Perriam, of Bendigo Hill station, said he was found in the nick of time.

"He had the wool over his eyes, he couldn't have survived very much longer up there," he told the Prime Minister.

"He was too heavy, he couldn't see where he was going,"

Shrek's fleece - thought to be one of the largest ever - is being auctioned off over the internet for the Cure Kids charity.

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