Keryn Herbert is all concentration as she competes for the New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year title at the Otago Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Balclutha. Photo by Barbara Newton
Te Awamutu woolhandler Keryn Herbert (34) beat the odds to
win the New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year title at the
She faced stiff competition from Golden Shears and world
champion wool handler Joel Henare, of Gisborne, the Golden
Shears and World, to win the season final, in Balclutha.
Herbert has been Shearing Sports New Zealand's top-ranked
woolhandler for the past three seasons. She was accorded
Master Woolhandler status in 2012 but this has been only her
third national Woolhandler of the Year final since she first
competed in the open class in 2003.
Henare has won the national title a record five times from
2008 to 2012.
Herbert said none of it would be possible without the support
of family because she got no big sponsors or commercial
Henare was first to complete the six-sheep routine - an
exacting task on the three different wool types of two full
wool, two short wool and two lambs, but Herbert pushed
through to win on quality.
However, earlier in the day Henare beat Herbert in the South
Island circuit final, scoring his eighth win of the season.
Herbert, who was likely to be one of the top two of eight
qualifiers for a selection series final at the Golden Shears,
was seeking another chance to represent New Zealand at World
She won a world championships teams title in Wales in 2010.
Alexandra woolhandler Juliette Lyon, a regular in the
television series Shearing Gang, won the Senior Woolhandler
of the Year title and the South Island circuit finals.
Henare's partner, Erica Reti, won the Junior Woolhandler of
the Year final, while Liv Gardiner, of Alexandra, won the
South Island Circuit Junior final.