Stuart name familiar

Greg Stuart, of Omarama, is the president of the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society. PHOTO:...
Greg Stuart, of Omarama, is the president of the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society. PHOTO: YVONNE O'HARA
There has always been a "Stuart" involved or competing in the annual Merino Shears competition during the 58 years it has been held in Alexandra.

Greg Stuart, of Omarama, is the third of four generations to either sit on the committee, compete, judge or volunteer.

He is in his second term as president of the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society, after taking over at the annual meeting in February and is looking forward to the 58th annual competition at the Molyneux Stadium on October 4 and 5.

"The idea of the shearing competitions is to enhance the quality and add value for the farmers, especially with merino as it is very valuable fibre at the moment," Mr Stuart said.

They used to run a cross-bred shearing competition in the early 1970s, alongside the Merino Shears, and Mr Stuart's grandfather, Jim Stuart, supplied the cross-bred hoggets for that.

Mr Stuart's father, Alastair Stuart, was a competitor and judged in the early and mid-1980s.

He also had an uncle, Ian Kneenwho came over from Australia to win the open competition in 1963, using narrow gear.

He stayed here and learned how to use the wide gear in Central Otago. He successfully won the title again in 1964, with the wide gear.

Greg Stuart was on the committee from about 1990 or 1991. president from 2003 for his first three-year term.

He has also judged at competitions around New Zealand and in Bendigo, Australia, in 2008.

"I have been involved since starting as a pen-boy in the community hall [on Skird St] at about age 12 or 13 in the 1970s and went on to compete in the 1980s," he said.

His brother Tony won the senior shearing competition in 2003 and his two children William and Charlotte are also involved, helping with the time-keeping on the day.

Charlotte also competes in the woolhandling.

The Stuart family presented a trophy for the senior shearing about 10 years ago.

Mr Stuart was a shearer in many sheds throughout Central Otago for about 10 years.

He moved on to managing farms from 1990, including Tara Hills in Omarama.

Later he spent five years as the Oamaru race course manager and is still involved as a starter's assistant.

"That was something totally different as I have always been interesting in racing.

"I work at races in Oamaru, Timaru and Omakau.


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