Shearers Kelly Macdonald (left), of Hawera, and Sarah Higgins, of Havelock, go all out in the junior final over three sheep at the Mackenzie Shears in Fairlie on Easter Monday. Photo by Ruth Grundy
As the shearing sports competition season in this country
ends, attention is shifting to the northern hemisphere and
competitions on the world stage.
The last of the season's competitions was staged alongside
the Mackenzie A&P Highland Show in Fairlie on Easter
Monday, for the second consecutive year.
One of the three conveners, Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, said the
competition had drawn some of the best shearers in the
country, including three former world champions.
One of those, veteran shearer David Fagan, of Te Kuiti, made
a surprise visit, flying south to compete in the open final
as a tribute to longtime friend and mentor John Hough, who is
retiring from the industry.
The open final was won by Tony Coster, of Rakaia. Young
shearers were particularly well represented in the events as
the sport climbed in popularity, Mr Dobbs said.
There had been a ''great crowd'' of spectators, with 350 or
more looking on at times.
Such was its success organisers were considering having
something purpose-built for the event, rather than continuing
with marquees and temporary fixtures, he said.
One of the biggest drawcards had been the open-blade shearing
final, in which Mr Dobbs and Albury shearer Mike McConnell
confirmed their places on the team to represent New Zealand
in Ireland next month.
Shearing commentator Norm Harraway, of Rakaia, said the New
Zealand team was particularly strong this time and was
favourite to win shearing titles at the World Shearing and
Woolhandling Championships in Gorey.
Mr Harraway would also be travelling to Ireland, as he had
been asked to commentate.
It was a first for him and he was looking forward to it,
although getting his tongue around some of the contestants'
names might prove to be a challenge, he said.
Those confirmed to represent New Zealand at the World
Championships are machine shearers Rowland Smith, of
Hastings, and John Kirkpatrick, of Napier; blade shearers
Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Mike McConnell, of Albury; and
wool-handlers Joel Henare, of Gisborne, and Veronica (Ronnie)
Goss, of Kimbolton.
The 16th World Championships begin on May 22.
- by Ruth Grundy