Proud of her rural Otago upbringing, Miss Universe New
Zealand finalist Kristie Leonard put her shearing skills on
display in the Octagon yesterday.
The 23-year-old Balclutha Primary School teacher ditched her
silver pom-poms and swapped her Otago cheerleading uniform
for shearing gear before relieving seven hoggets of their
10cm winter coats.
Miss Leonard spent two hours in central Dunedin generating
support for her Miss Universe New Zealand campaign.
The 10 finalists for the national contest needed public votes
to help them win and, ultimately, represent New Zealand at
the Miss Universe contest in Moscow.
Miss Leonard was one of three finalists from Otago and drew a
crowd of about 100 people to the Octagon from noon yesterday.
She danced with fellow cheerleaders and was supported by
members of the Otago rugby team, including captain Paul
Grant, who shore the first sheep.
Miss Leonard started shearing about six months ago under the
direction of her father, Malcolm Leonard, who has been
shearing for almost 40 years and farming near Balclutha for
about 26 years.
She had shorn about 50 sheep before yesterday.
''Dad's shorn close to two million and he talks to me about
'the dance' - to remember how to do the dance and get your
feet in the right position.
"I'm super-proud of him and he's super-proud of me,'' Miss
She was ''ecstatic'' about yesterday's event and said
shearing the hoggets from her aunt and uncle's Balclutha farm
was not difficult, although her father ''jumped up and showed
everyone how it's really done''.
Among those watching were Miss Leonard's past and present
pupils from Balclutha Primary School and Elmgrove School in
Mosgiel, as well as former classmates from South Otago High
Other Miss Universe New Zealand finalists from Otago were
also drumming up support ahead of the contest final in
Auckland on October 5.
University of Otago medical student Deborah Lambie (22), of
Dunedin, will speak to pupils at her former school, Columba
College, this week, and her image will grace banners being
put up in the city by her sponsor business.
Fellow Otago student Henali Patel (19) planned to organise a
public event with friends in the next week.