No Merino Shears because of Covid

Waitaki Mackenzie Merino Shears president Greg Stuart is looking forward to the revival of the...
New Zealand Merino Shearing Society chairman Greg Stuart. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The traditional season-opener of New Zealand shearing competitions, the New Zealand Merino Shears, has been cancelled this year and organisers are now working to mark its 60th anniversary in style in 2021.

The championships in Alexandra, which would have attracted 100-plus shearers and woolhandlers to the only fine wool competition on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar, were to have been held on October 2-3.

The cancellation, because of Covid-19, has also led to the abandonment of the 2020-21 national shearing circuit.

It also affects the annual home-and-away transtasman series, with the two competitions providing two of the three shearers in the New Zealand team each summer.

Incorporating a final for the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown at the Golden Shears each March since 1973, the circuit had already been hit by the cancellation of this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Show (the Canterbury A&P Show) which would have staged third-round event the New Zealand Corriedale Championships.

New Zealand Merino Shearing Society chairman Greg Stuart said the cancellation was because of the severe impact of Covid-19 across the country and the world.

His committee "needed to make the call" about an event which ran on a budget of up to $50,000, at a time when the lockdown made negotiations almost impossible.

The committee decided it wanted to guarantee still being around for its 60th year, particularly for the sake of those who had supported the event over the years, Mr Stuart said.

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