Welsh shearer Paul Davies says he has improved his shearing
skills since working in New Zealand.
Meet Wiggy from Wales.
Paul ''Wiggy'' Davies has been in North Otago working for
shearing contractor Owen Rowland, having met Mr Rowland when
he was over shearing in Wales.
Mr Davies (27), who had been shearing with former Oamaru man
Grant Rowland, now living in Wales, wanted to improve his
''One good thing about shearing, it does get you around the
world a bit,'' he said.
A builder by trade, he grew up on a sheep and beef farm in
mid-Wales and started shearing three years ago.
He shore for three seasons before coming to New Zealand, but
the seasons were only two months long, so he only had about
six months of proper shearing experience, and it had been a
''big learning curve'', he said.
In Wales, woolsheds were a rarity, sheep were mostly shorn in
''You just drive into a paddock and set up,'' Mr Rowland
said. Sheep were much smaller than in New Zealand and had
less wool on them. The wool was more hairy and there was much
less preparation of the wool. Rather, it was just rolled up.
The days were also not as structured as in New Zealand, with
shearers staying until the job was finished.
Mr Davies arrived in New Zealand on January 5 and will finish
shearing on February 25. He will then be joined by his
partner and they will travel around the South Island before
heading home on March 15, in time for lambing on the family
It was his first trip to New Zealand and while it was
''pretty much'' what he had expected from things he had
heard, it was very different from home.
It was a lot hotter, there were a lot more cows than he
expected and he was also interested in how irrigation was ''a
He was pleased his shearing had improved markedly since he
had been in the country. He hoped to come out again next year
to work but he would know what to expect and train for it, he
Mr Davies had managed to fit in plenty of activities
alongside shearing. He had been to Mt Cook and the Moeraki
Boulders, caught a trout and been night-shooting, hunting and
He also went to Centre Hill Station, near Mossburn, this
month and joined hundreds of people watching the successful
world record lamb shearing attempt by John Kirkpatrick, Eru
Weeds, James Mack and Leon Samuels.
It had been a ''brilliant'' time and he had enjoyed his stay
in the South, particularly seeing at first hand the different
styles of farming.
In the UK, sheep farming was ''not very good'', with people
questioning how it could continue. There were also high feed
costs, he said.
Other issues faced by farmers were increasing compliance and
''red tape''. Mr Davies was the third generation on the
family farm and he, his father and his 80-year-old
grandfather had been shearing together.
The property was about 129ha but they had grazing on 2020ha
of hill country behind the farm on the commons. He had his
own sheep and was building his flock numbers.