Retired farmer Mervyn Kinaston is the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society's new president. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
After Mervyn Kinaston's daughter, Judith, started working as
a shed hand and wool classer, he developed a strong interest
in shearing, both on farm and in competitions.
Now the retired Raes Junction farmer is the new president of
the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society (NZMS) and is looking
forward to the Merino Shears competition in Alexandra early
''Judith worked for 20 years in the woolsheds,'' Mr Kinaston
''She won the Golden Shears senior woolhandling competition
in Masterton in 2008.''
Mr Kinaston, now of Alexandra, was ''born and bred'' in
Roxburgh and he and wife Helen spent 31 years farming,
running Perendale sheep and Hereford cattle.
He said he used to take part in the Young Farmers open
shearing competition for the Otago-Southland region in the
''I competed in my first Young Farmers competition at Moutere
Station, Central Otago, in 1961 and was an ''also started'',
Mr Kinaston said.
The couple retired to Alexandra in 1997 and he continued his
interest in competitive shearing at the Merino Shears
''I went along to be nosey and got roped in for a job.''
He joined the committee in 2001 and has been involved every
He marshalled for four years, and was the junior
vice-president, and then senior vice-president for the past
''My role was to support the president and [I] was involved
He said he was pleased to see the competition, which marked
its 50th year last year, getting stronger.
He is looking forward to this year's competition at the
Molyneux Stadium on October 4 and 5, as Australian shearer
Damien Boyle is coming to defend his open title for the
''Last year, during the open final, the six shearers all
finished within six seconds of each other and it was one of
the best finals in the history of the competition.
''It was an outstanding final and they are still talking
He said the Merino Shears will hold the second round of the
Perth-Alexandra test match challenge, as well as a fashion
parade of merino and Icebreaker clothing on the Saturday
There is also a new secretary aboard, Aimee Dyke, and a new
treasurer, Nicola Kelland, both of Alexandra.
The competition is the only merino shearing competition in
New Zealand and the only compulsory round of the PGG
Wrightson national circuit competition.
In addition to shearing, Mr Kinaston has been involved with
the region's rugby referees' association for 40 years and
also has an interest in coaching.
- Yvonne O'Hara
''I am also a life member of the Mt Benger A and P Society
and have been involved in that since the 1960s.''
He said he had seen the wool industry change dramatically.
''Wool used to be of less importance to farmers, a
''In those days, sheep farmers were not seeing anything for
their investment of New Zealand Woolboard levies, and the
wool industry was going backwards.''
However, the merino farmers set up Merino New Zealand Inc to
market the product.
''That has been a real success story for merino.
''A lot of merino farmers would have gone broke
[otherwise],'' he said.