Harriet Gardner shows her wool-handling ability during
shearing at the family farm in South Canterbury. Photo
Harriet Gardner admits she might not be the ''fastest in
the world'' at it - but she can shear a sheep.
That skill will be crucial when Miss Gardner (20) takes part
in the preliminary round of competition at the World Young
Shepherds Challenge at Lincoln from July 3-5.
The competition will be held alongside the ANZ Young Farmer
Contest grand final events. It will consist of shearing,
condition scoring, a quad bike obstacle course, identifying
sheep breeds, feet trimming, drenching, counting sheep and
demonstrating knowledge ofthe sheep industry.
Young Farmers members from throughout New Zealand applied for
a chance to compete with the top eight, chosen based on their
skills, qualifications and involvement in the sheep industry.
The two top-performing competitors will represent New Zealand
at the final in France from September 28 to October 4.
Miss Gardner, who hails from a sheep and beef farm at
Waihaorunga, near Waimate, expected the two trickiest parts
to be shearing a sheep - ''it's not like I do it for a day
job'' - and the quad bike, as they did not have one on their
However, she was fortunate to have neighbours with one and
she had been practising on it.
She has always been interested in farming and, when her
brother who worked on the farm headed to university and a job
became available on the 600ha property, she took it up.
A keen equestrian rider, she has successfully been involved
in stock-judging competitions, and she hoped to eventually
take over the family farm.
Miss Gardner is a member of the Glenavy Young Farmers Club.
Fellow-club member and vice-chairman Alex Reekers (23), her
neighbour, is also among the eight finalists.
While there would be friendly rivalry, Miss Gardner said she
would be ''pretty chuffed'' if selected.
Brooke Elliot (23), from Lammermoor Station, Paerau, has also
Miss Elliot, who works on Kyeburn Station and also runs a
contract sheep dipping business, is chairwoman of the
Maniototo Young Farmers Club.
Other finalists are Caleb Eady (20), South Wairarapa Young
Farmers, Katey Craig (21), Marton; Mitch Hoare (19), Te
Kuiti; Christine Wellington (20), Reperoa; and Mitch Nation
The inaugural World Shepherds Challenge in Oamaru in 2011 was
won by Peter Klaassen, from Lincoln University.