Emotional shearing win

An emotional Joel Henare, flanked by Mary-Anne Baty, left, and Tina Elers, right stands tall...
An emotional Joel Henare, flanked by Mary-Anne Baty, left, and Tina Elers, right stands tall while the New Zealand national anthem is played in Invercargill on Saturday night. Photo: ODT.
''This one's for Joanne Kumeroa,'' an emotional Joel Henare said winning the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships woolhandling title in Invercargill on Saturday night.

Dedicating the win to his mentor and friend who passed away in 2015, the Dunedin-based woolhandler, originally from Gisborne, had a tear in his eye as he accepted the winning trophy.

The now two-time world woolhandling champion proved he is the best in the world, beating fellow New Zealand team mate Mary-Anne Baty, Cook Islands representative Tina Elers, of Mataura, and Sophie Huff, of Australia, by 50 points to fulfil his life long dream - again.

''This is a life long dream, to become the world champion.''

Henare thanked everyone involved with the champs for their hard work and paid credit to Shearing Sports New Zealand for their work getting the team to Invercargill.

''To the rest of the team - it's been a great weekend for us.''

But it was not just one title Henare claimed on Saturday night.

Together with team mate Baty, the duo battled Australia and the Cook Islands to win the teams woolhandling title.

In the teams machine shearing the kiwi team, Invercargill man Nathan Stratford and Johnny Kirkpatrick, of Napier, edged out the flying Scotsmen, Gavin Mutch and Hamish Mitchell, to win the World Shearing and Woolhandling shearing team title.

On home soil, at his first world championships, Stratford won his first title, while team mate Kirkpatrick finally won the evasive individual title, at his fourth world champs.

''It wasn't an easy final. This is my fourth world champs, to win here in New Zealand is the biggest honour of my life.''

Kirkpatrick was awarded the trophy in front of more than 4000 people in a standing ovation.

Kirkpatrick, like Henare, could not believe the transformation of ILT Stadium Southland, one of the best world championships he had ever been to, he said.

He thanked his family, who had been a part of the roller-coaster ride to win the individual title, but they had got there, he said.

''Some times I think they love shearing more than I do.''

In the blade shearing, South African Mayenseke Shweni successfully defended the blade shearing title he won in Ireland in 2014.

Together with countryman Bongani Joel, the South Africans also won the blades team title, beating New Zealand team mates Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Phil Oldfield, of Geraldine.

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