Woolhandling is in Charis’s blood

Winning woolhandler ... Charis Morrell, of Alexandra, is 14 and has already represented...
Winning woolhandler ... Charis Morrell, of Alexandra, is 14 and has already represented Switzerland at two woolhandling world championships. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Charis Morrell is not sure if she wants to be a woolhandler when she leaves school, although she has been around woolsheds all her life and twice competed at the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships.

She is also leaning towards event organising, as that and woolhandling both require organisational skills, which she enjoys.

‘‘I like to have things nice and tidy,'' Charis, of Alexandra, said.

Although she earned fifth place in the intermediate woolhandling competition at the world championships in Le Dorat, France, last year — the youngest competitor at the event — she may yet change her mind entirely and be a cook or baker — something else she enjoys doing.

The daughter of shearing contractors Dion Morrell and Gabriela Schmidt-Morrell, Charis has grown up in the wool industry. Her sister, Pagan Karauria, is a world ranked woolhandler and a senior shearer, who won the All Nations open woolhandling title in France last year.

As her mother is from Switzerland, both Gabriela and Charis represented that country in woolhandling at the world championships in Invercargill in 2017, and in France in 2019, placing about the middle in both competitions.

In addition to competing at an international level, Charis has also taken part in several Otago and Southland woolhandling competitions.

She won the junior woolhandling final at the Southland Shears and the New Zealand crossbred lambs championship woolhandling title in Winton and placed fifth in the Lumsden woolhandling competition this competition season.

Charis enjoyed the preparation for competitions as it was both fun and hard work.

‘‘There are a whole lot of different ways of doing it, different types of wool. You have got to be organised and I like that part of it. I also like competing.''

A year 10 pupil at Dunstan High School, sport is an important part of her life, and for her sister, Jelena (11).

Charis is also a keen shukokai karate exponent and has a junior black belt ranking.

‘‘I have been doing karate for years, and I was a bit more into competitions the year before last, but I have slowed down a lot to focus more on woolhandling.

“I like it as it is like karate, because it is fast.''

However, she has had glandular fever since July last year, and had her tonsils out earlier this year, both of which have limited her activities and required time off school.

She is unsure which career she will pursue when she leaves school.

‘‘Whether I have a gap year before studying, I have not decided.

‘‘If I do have a year off, I will probably go to work for Dad if I need extra money. ''

Either way, her parents are supportive of whatever career she chooses.

‘‘We work together and practise together. Dad finds me sheds where I can practise. My mum also wakes me up in the mornings and that is a pretty hard part of the job, so she has credit for that.’’.

Add a Comment