‘Admin lady’ wins woolhandling circuit final

Winners and placegetters in the recent Open Woolhandling South Island circuit-South Island...
Winners and placegetters in the recent Open Woolhandling South Island circuit-South Island Woolhandler of the Year final at the New Zealand Spring Shears in Waimate, are from left Candy Hiri, of Mataura, (4th), Pagan Karauria (3rd), Keryn Herbert, Te Kuiti, (2nd) and winner Kelly Macdonald, of Cheviot, with Warren White (Waimate president). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Despite little training for the Waimate Shears New Zealand Spring championships, Kelly Macdonald was thrilled to win the South Island circuit open woolhandling final.

Ms Macdonald works for Elite Wool Industry Training as the administration officer and comes from several generations of shearers and woolhandlers.

"My father and his father and his brothers were all shearers and my mother was a woolhandler. It has been bred into me.

"I get called the ‘admin lady’, because I organise and book the courses and resources and other various roles, as well as a bit of videography and I take photos for social media ," she said.

Busy with training courses, she had not worked in a shed since February so competed with little preparation.

"I managed to keep my hand in as I help with training courses [in the sheds] when needed."

In addition to woolhandling she has her woolclassing ticket, is the South Island Woolhandling representative on the Shearing Sports New Zealand committee and also shears at a senior level.

She has also worked overseas and competed in national and international competitions.

"I mostly work in Canterbury but do a lot in Central Otago with [shearing contractor] Dion Morrell. "

All that is in addition to looking after her three children: Matai Macdonald (12); Tara Macdonald-Powis (10) and Reihi Macdonald-Powis (8).

Ms Macdonald was born in Clyde and grew up in Lake Hawea, spending much of her time in woolsheds.

She still has family connections in the area including 84-year-old grandmother Molly Macdonald.

After leaving school, she went to work in the industry full-time, something she has done ever since, apart from taking time off to have her children, which have been her priority for the past few years.

"Wool is a passion and I enjoy competing because I get to meet new people and catch up with old friends. It is almost like a sport."

For the past seven years she has shorn in the main shear and now, with nine months off, going back will be difficult as she has arthritis in her knees and elbows.

"On the other hand it keeps me fit," she said.

Ms Mcdonald hopes to see the attitude towards crossbred wool and the demand for it change, "hopefully sooner rather than later" as there is not a market for it at present.

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