New Zealand shearing and woolhandling is in good hands,
organisers of an inaugural national contest for apprentice
wool harvesters say.
Some of the industry's brightest young hopes starred on the
first day of the Southern Shears in Gore, last week. North
Island and South Island teams went head-to-head in the first
contest between the best of the trainees in the Modern
Apprentice training project.
The South Island team came out on top, winning the Tectra
Wool Harvesting Apprentice National Championship.
Chas Tohiariki, of Southern Shears, who is Tectra Southern
South Island southern region training manager, said the
contest was definitely ''on the cards'' for future Southern
Shears programmes and it would only grow in popularity.
''It's good to see such a lot of young people coming through
the industry,'' Mr Tohiariki said.
The North Island team comprised the Lower North Island team
of shearers Keanu Sutton, of Dannevirke, and Jayden
Hiroti-Green, of Raetihi, and wool-handlers Carmen Smith, of
Pongaroa, and Stevee-Rae Alexander, of Wanganui.
The South Island was represented by the Upper South Island
team of shearers Jock Barrett and Ethan Pankhurst, both based
at Rakaia, and woolhandlers Kerrie-Lee Duff, of Kurow, and
Vance Brown, of Christchurch.
The teams won their way into the match with victory in
inter-region contests at their respective island workshops
last year. They were instructed by shearing greats such as
world champion shearers David Fagan and Tom Wilson and
woolhandlers Joel Henare and Tina Rimene.
The Southern Shears contest was the first of two inter-island
competitions. The second will be at the 30th anniversary New
Zealand Championships, in Te Kuiti at the end of next month.
The Tectra project began 14 years ago, with 12 trainees, and
has grown to oversee more than 400 in on-the-job training and
work with contractors around the country. In-shed tutorials
are run by the organisation's training managers and other top
shearers and wool-handlers.