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2017 Golden Shears News and Media Releases

A golden Shears cleansweep for shearing gun Smith

Northland-raised Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith has tonight completed an amazing reply to his omission from the New Zealand World Championships team with a cleansweep of major events on the final night of the 57th Golden Shears in Masterton.

The 30-year-old 2014 World champion was the man of the night as he won his fourth Golden Shears Open title, his first PGG Wrightson National Championship all-breeds title and led New Zealand to victory over Australia in a Transtasman test, the first time New Zealander had been eight tests since March 2013.

Last month he had to sit-out what would have been a defence of the World title he won in 2014, had he not missed out on a place in the team after finishing only third in a selection series final in November.

A crowd of over 1000 packed into Masterton's War Memorial Stadium waited in anticipation of a possible first home victory in the 20-sheep Open final which crowned the triumphs.

But Smith had left it in no doubt in his defence of Golden Shears the title, overtaking pacemaking Taranaki-based 2015 champion and Scotland international Gavin Mutch on the last two sheep to finish first in 17min 19.05sec, 23.886sec and ultimately win by a comfortable margin of 3.325pts from Feilding shearer Aaron Haynes, who repeated his second placing of two years ago.

Third was Southland shearer Nathan Stratford, who had been top qualifier for the final and who put in one of his best Golden Shears Open final performances but was still unable to sneak a South Island win, which has not otherwise been achieved since 1989.

Smith also had the best quality points, but Mutch sacrificed the points in the race for time as his bid came largely unstuck over the latter stages of the race.

Many would have been surprised by the result of the test match in which Australian shearers Daniel McIntyre, Jason Wingfierld and series veteran Shannon Warnest were all finished their six merinos, three longwools and three lambs before Smith, the first Kiwi to the button.

But it highlighted a special determination which was also evident in the PGG Wrightson National, which Smith won by 1.618pts from 2013 winner John Kirkpatrick. Stratford was again third, and defending champion and five-times winner Tony Coster, of Rakaia, was fourth.

The two-metres-tall super-shearer won the Southland All Nations Open final support event in Invercargill, one of a sequence of wins which stretched to 11 in a row with his Open final win last night. Having first sheared Open class in 2006, with Golden Shears Junior and Senior titles behind him, his latest sequence included his 100th win in the top class.

Henare was in commanding form throughout the Golden Shears to claim the Open woolhandling title for a fifth consecutive time, his total being one short of the record of six won by late mentor Joanne Kumeroa between 1995 and 2012.

The runner-up was Taihape's Sheree Alabaster, who remained without a Golden Shears title despite having won the New Zealand Championships Open title seven time in Te Kuiti.

Third was Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, and 2012 Junior champion Anne Maree Kahukura, of Omakau, was fourth in her first Golden Shears Open final.

Earlier in the day, Darren Alexander, of Whangamomona, won the Senior shearing title which had been won by father Lloyd Alexander 29 years ago, the Intermediate final was won by Connor Puha, of Kimbolton, and the Junior final was won by 43-year-old Hawke's Bay farmer and part-time shearer Mark Ferguson, who hadn't shorn a competition two months ago.

The Senior woolhandling final was won by Taihape's Jamie McLean, nine years after she won the Junior title, which was this year won by Napier's Ricci Stevens, deriving some satisfaction after an earlier elimination from his more favoured Senior shearing event.

RESULTS


RESULTS from the 57th Golden Shears Shearing and Woolhandliung Championships in Masterton, NZ, on March 2-4, 2017:

International:

Lister Shearing Transtasman Shearing Test (12 sheep - 6 merinos, 3 long wools, 3 lambs): New Zealand 225.3534pts (R owland Smith 17min 45.072sec, 73.67pts; Nathan Stratford 18min 1.987sec, 75.016pts; Tony Coster 17min 50.029sec, 76.667pts) beat Australia 237.969pts (Jason Wingfield 15min 51.416sec, 75.071pts; Shannon Warnest 16min 58.816sec, 78.357pts; Daniel McIntyre 17min 39.154sec, 84.541pts).

Godfrey Bowen Trophy (best quality points): Rowland Smith (New Zealand).

CP Wool Transtasman Wool handling test: New Zealand (Sheree Alabaster, Joel Henare) 298.4pts beat Australia (Sophie Huf, Mel Morris) 468.48pts.

Shearing:

Golden Shears Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 17min 19.05sec, 60.703pts, 1; Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 18min 8.556sec, 64.028pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 18min 0.865sec, 64.043pts, 3; David Buick (Pongaroa) 17min 27.703sec, 64.235pts, 4; Murray Henderson (Halcombe) 18min 16.796sec, 67.79pts, 5; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona) 17min 23.886sec, 68.144pts, 6.

PGG Wrightson National Championships final (15 sheep - 3 merinos, 3 corriedales, 3 longwools, 3 second-shear, 3 lambs): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 19min 32.206sec, 77.01pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 19min 15.225sec, 78.628pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 20min 13.459sec, 79.873pts, 3; Tony Coster (Rakaia) 20min 11.415sec, 81.705pts, 4; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 19min 9.382sec, 83.536pts, 5; Murray Henderson (Halcombe) 20min 33.293sec, 86.199pts, 6.

Golden Shears Senior final (12 sheep): Darren Alexander (Whangamomona) 13min 27.36sec, 51.451pts, 1; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 13min 47.255sec, 52.280pts, 2; Aaron Bell (Waipawa) 12min 34.761sec, 52.738pts, 3; Nicholas Greaves (England) 14min 6.21sec, 56.561pts, 4; Lionel Taumata (Mataura) 13min 22.165sec, 57.358pts, 5; Conan Te Kene (Taumarunui) 12min 26.865pts, 59.509pts, 6.

Golden Shears Intermediate final (eight sheep): Connor Puha (Kimbolton) 12min 4.056sec, 45.453pts, 1; Brandon Maguire-Ratima (Winton) 12min 57.988sec, 47.024pts, 2; Laura Bradley (Woodville) 12min 38.529sec, 49.301pts, 3; Tom Brewer (Naracoorte, Australia) 12min 8.611sec, 53.431pts, 4; Josh Harding (Hunterville) 12min 52.578sec, 56.754pts, 5; Neil Bryant (Levin) 134min 42.913sec, 6.

Golden Shears Junior final (five sheep): Mark Ferguson (Kahuranaki) 9min 46.681sec, 35.334pts, 1; Brodie Horrell (Gore) 8min 51.463sec, 35.373pts, 2; Liam Norrie (Cheviot) 10min 18.783sec, 38.339pts, 3; Steve Hakaraia (Napier) 9min 29.337sec, 38.867pts, 4; Anne-Lise Humstad (Norway) 10min 18.509sec, 40.125pts, 5; Keith Swann (Wairoa) 11min 3.69sec, 44.985pts, 6.

Golden Shears Novice final (2 sheep): Mark Baxter (Pongaroa) 5min 9.975sec, 31.999pts, 1; Richmond Ngarangione (Gisborne) 6min 11.868sec, 35.593pts, 2; Ariana Hadfield (Wairoa) 8min 1.219sec, 37.061pts, 3; Leam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 5min 57.186sec, 39.359pts, 4; Flynn Harvey (Kaitaia) 8min 8.954pts, 5; 40.448pts, 5; Andrew Baxter (Pongaroa) 6min 32.665sec, 42.133pts, 6.

Maori-Pakeha Teams Event: Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) and Turi Edmonds (Raetihi) 73,036pts, 1; Axle Reid (Taihape) and Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 75.117sec, 2; Kelvin Walker (Taumarunui) and Floyde Neil (Taumarunui) 78.64pts, 3.

Tui Encouragement Invitation (6 sheep): Tama Niania (Gisborne) 6min 42.543, 30.127pts, 1; Tipene Te Whata (Tautoro) 7min 14.631sec, 32.565pts, 2; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 7min 14.517sec, 32.726pts, 3; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 6min 16.364sec, 32.984pts, 4; Hemi Braddick (Eketahuna) 6min 48.734sec, 33.271pts, 5; Jordan Boyes (Owaka) 7min 17.206sec, 33.527pts, 6.

Woolhandling:

Golden Shears Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 160.85pts, 1; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 218.228pts, 2; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 220.228pts, 3; Anne Maree Kahukura (Omakau) 289.22pts, 4.

Golden Shears Senior final: Jamie McLean (Taihape) 133.7pts, 1; Erana Smith (Ruatoria) 153.71pts, 2; Ebony Turipa (Gore) 168.1pts, 3; Ash Boyce (Dannevirke) 212.94pts, 4.

Golden Shears Junior final: Ricci Stevens (Napier) 180.48pts, 1; Tameka Hema (Gisborne) 192.98pts, 2; Sarah Davis (Rerewhakaaitu) 193.286pts, 3; Bianca Hawea (Masterton) 194.038pts, 4.

Golden Shears Novice final: Aromia Ngarangione (Gisborne) 46.2pts, 1; Georgia Oliverr (Masterton) 59.6pts, 2; Midz Peneha (Masterton) 73.4pts, 3; Shyla Karaitiana (Masterton) 91.4pts, 4.

North Island Circuit Open final: Maryanne Baty (Gisborne) 127.38pts, 1; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 137.664pts, 2; Carmen Smith (Pongaroa) 162.864pts, 3; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu/Te Kuiti) 170.85pts, 4.

Woolpressing:

Men's Final: Vinnie Goodger (Masterton) 56.7pts, 1; Conan Gray (Masterton) 76.6pts, 2.

Women's final: Christine Wolland (Eketahuna) 54.2pts, 1; Carmen Smith (Pongaroa) 104.95pts, 2.

Pairs final: Vinnie Goodger and Conan Gray (Masterton) 46.45pts, 1; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) and Riccie Stevens (Napier) 103.75pts, 2.

Young Farmers Clubs:

Blue Ribbon Open Shearing Championship (six sheep): Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 7min 1.943sec, 26.763pts, 1; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 7min 2.469sec, 30.29pts, 2; Linton Palmer (Dipton) 9min 21.469sec, 34.907pts, 3; Jacob Moore (Marton) 8min 29.566sec, 34.978pts, 4; Aaron Bell (Waipawa) 8min 34.256sec, 35.213pts, 5; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 8min 57.197sec, 35.693pts, 6.

Shearing and Woolhandling teams event: Wairarapa (shearers Aaron Bell, Mark Grainger; woolhandlers Sam Gordon, Sarah Higgins) 219.512pts, 1; Marton (shearers Jimmy Samuels, Jacob Moore; woolhandlers Cortez Ostler, Logan Kamura) 248.616pts, 2; Ballance (shearers Tegwyn Bradley, Laura Bradley; woolhandlers Sumer Pritchard, Sam Pritchard) 288.513pts, 3.

Triathlon (combined points from shearing, woolhandling and pressing heats): Ricci Stevens (Napier) 173.227pts, 1; Carmen Smith (Pongaroa) 186.376pts, 2; Jono Hicks (Marton) 203.88pts, 3; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 221.659pts, 4; Linton Palmer (Dipton) 230.609pts, 5.

Special Awards:

R.E.O'Hara Memorial Trophy (best quality any shearing final): Mark Ferguson (Kahuranaki), Junior final.

FMG Quality Awards (best quality in shearing heats): Open, Tony Coster (Rakaia) 6.667pts, 1; Senior, Paul Swann (Wairoa) 5.2pts; Intermediate, Blake Hewes (Glen Murray) 6.25pts; Junior, Mark Ferguson (Elsthorpe) 6.25pts..

Friends of Golden Shears (best quality points in woolhandling heats): Open, Joel Henare (Gisborne) 51pts; Senior, Sam Tipene (Eketahuna) 71pts; Junior, Crystal Bird (Mangatainoka) 72pts..

Les Field Memorial Trophy (best quality woolhandling all grades): Joel Henare.

McGregor Trophy (best quality points in shearing heats, local): Open, Rikihana Chase; Senior, Stacey Reiri; Intermediate, Ruka Braddick; Junior, Chris Dickson; Novice, Louis Smith. Winner: Rikihana Chase.

Stewart Trophy (best local Junior shearer): Paora Moanaroa (Eketahuna).

Puha takes second Golden Shears title - March 4, 2017


Manawatu teenager Connor Puha has won his second Golden Shears title in a controversial aftermath to the Intermediate shearing final in Masterton today.

The 18-year-old Puha, who won the Novice final in 2014 and fourth in the Junior final in both 2015 and last year, was initially placed third in the presentation after today's final, when the winning ribbon was presented to Winton shearer Brandon Maguire Ratima.

A mistake in the information on which calculations was based was noticed almost immediately, and Puha was named the winner later in the afternoon.

A disappointed Maguire Ratima was then placed second and the initial runner-up, Laura Bradley, of Woodville, third, in a six-person final of eight sheep each.

Puha, a former Feilding High School pupil who has been shearing fulltime for over a year, including several months late last year based in Dubbo, NSW, was the first to finish in 12min 4.056sec in a close battle for time honours with Australian shearer Tom Brewer. Maguire Ratima was more than 50 seconds back and had the best shearing points on the board, but he and Puha had the same quality points in pen judging, an overall equation that gave Puha the win by just over one-and-a-half points.

Puha had been in good form leading into the Shears, with wins at Taumarunui and home show Apiti and a second place at the Pahiatua Shears in successive days on the Friday-Sunday before heading to Masterton.

He was still travelling yesterday, heading to the Homegrown Music Festival in Wellington as the shearing fraternity in Masterton awaited the big events including the Golden Shears Open and a shearing test between New Zealand and Australia.



Shearer Stevens wins woolhandling - March 4, 2017


It wasn't so much the title he wanted but it'll do for Napier shearer Ricci Stevens after he won the Junior woolhandling title at the 57th Golden Shears in Masterton today.

The New Zealand Junior shearing champion in 2015, a Golden Shears Intermediate finalist last year and a consistent performer in his first season of Senior shearing, Stevens had been among the favourites for the Golden Shears Senior championship but was eliminated in its heats.

Showing versatility across the skills of the woolshed, he had had however on Friday won the Triathlon for points scored in heats across all three disciplines of shearing, woolhandling and woolpressing, leaving the woolhandling final as the main goal on the last day.

Stevens said he took up competing in woolhandling competitions last year to fill in time between shearing events on the show circuit, and although he had been in the winner's circle and in other finals in country shows he was surprised to win today.

"It's a bit of shock," he said after beating an all-east coast North Island final, in which the runner up was 2013 Novice winner Tameka Hema, of Gisborne.

The win gave her some right to family bragging rights after wife Angela missed out on a place in the Senior woolhandling final.

Result:

Golden Shears Senior woolhandling final: Ricci Stevens (Napier) 180.48pts, 1; Tameka Hema (Gisborne) 192.98pts, 2; Sarah Davis (Rerewkaaitu) 193.286pts, 3; Bianca Hawea (Masterton) 194.038pts, 4.

South Island hope for Golden Sherars title - March 4, 2017


Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford has loomed as a big hope of claiming the South Island's first win in the Golden Shears Open final for the first time in 28 years.

Stratford was the top qualifier in this afternoon's semi-finals, combining both quality and speed to possibly the best effect in his 20-year Open-class career in which the biggest highlight came only last month when he and Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick won the World teams title in ILT Stadium Southland.

Known usually to rely on quality to make-up for deficiencies in speed, he shore in the first heat of today's 12-man semi-finals and was one of just four to shear the 10 sheep in under 10 minutes, including a rare time-honours victory over hot favourite and defending chamoion Rowland Smith, of Hastings.

The finalists for the 20-sheep final being shorn about 9pm and expected to last less than 20 minutes are, in order of qualifying, Nathan Stratford (Invercargill), David Buick (Pongaroa), Gavin Mutch (Scotland), Rowland Smith (Hastings), Aaron Haynes (Feilding) and Murray Henderson (Halcombe).

World champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, substantiated his hot favouritism to successfully defend his Golden Shears title, and will be up against seven-times New Zealand champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, and Anne Maree Kahukura, of Omakau.

A dream comes true for Alexander - March 4, 2017


It was a bit more than a dream come true for Taranaki shearer Darren Alexander as he won the Golden Shears Senior shearing title, emulating the win by father Lloyd Alexander in 1988.

At one stage headed for a climb-up to the Open-class, in which his father also shore a Golden Shears final, the 23-year-old, Alexander held back still a couple of wins short of automatic promotion to shear one more season in the class. But he came to wonder if his last throw of the dice might be good enough as the class compacted with shearers making finals in the grade among the most watched throughout the season.

Even after Napier shearers Paraki Puna and Ricci Stevens were eliminated in the heats, Alexander, from Whangamomona, still had to worry about such shearers as rising Waipawa gun Aaron Bell, who shore for Cook Islands at last month's World Championships, just missing on a place in the semi-final but winning the Southland All Nations Senior title along the way.

In today's six-man final of 12 sheep each, Alexander wondered if he would have the quality to pull it off, after beaing beaten to the button by more a whiole sheepo by both Bell and first-man off Conan Te Kene, of Taumarunu, taking 12min 26.865sec.

Bell didn't, slipping to third, and neither did Te Kene, as Alexander won by 0.829pts from runner-up and 2016 Intermediate champion Tegwyn Bradley, of Woodville.

"I didn't expect that after the way Aaron was going this season," said Alexander, clutching the prized winning ribbon. "I was expecting it to be him.

Not even born when his father won, and only starting to develop an interest after learning to shear at the age of 14 and said as the winning ribbon reflected in the silver Doug Buick Memorial Tray: "I didn't expect that after the way Aaron was going this season. I was expecting it to be him. It's pretty cool."

The previous biggest win was the 2014 New Zealand Championships Intermediate final in Te Kuiti.

Result:

Golden Shears Senior Shearing final (12 sheep): Darren Alexander (Whangamomona) 13min 27.36sec, 51.451pts, 1; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 13min 47.255sec, 52.280pts, 2; Aaron Bell (Waipawa) 12min 34.761sec, 52.738pts, 3; Nicholas Greaves (England) 14min 6.21sec, 56.561pts, 4; Lionel Taumata (Mataura) 13min 22.165sec, 57.358pts, 5; Conan Te Kene (Taumarunui) 12min 26.865pts, 59.509pts, 6.

Team NZ intact after Baty circuit win - March 4, 2017


The World champion New Zealand woolhandling team of Gisborne's Joel Henare and Mayryanne Baty has been kept intact for next season's Transtasman series after Baty's win today in the North Island Open woolhandling circuit final it the Golden Shears in Masterton.

It was only the third individual win of her Open-class career, but the most important, ranking alongside the World Championships New Zealand team selection final second placing in November which led to the pair's success at the championships in Invercargill last month, where she was also runner-up top Henare in the individual final.

The Circuit final provided automatic selection in the 2017-2018 Transtasman team, with Henare who retained his place by winning the New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year final in Balclutha a few days before the World Championships.

With Henare not in today's final, she went to the man himself fir advice on how to run the final on both full wool and second-shear sheep - as long as she wouldn't use it against him if they were to meet again in the Golden Shears Open final tonight.

Result:

North Island Woolhandling Oopen Circuit final: Maryanne Baty (Gisborne) 1237.38pts, 1; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 137.664pts, 2; Carmen Smith (Pongaroa) 162.864pts, 3; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu/Te Kuiti) 170.85pts, 4.

Nine years, but worth the wait as McLean nails second Goldies - March 4, 2017


A bit of pining for home was behind the success of Taihape's Jamie McLean as she won her second Golden Shears woolhandling title in Mssterton today.

There were nine years between the two successes, the 2008n win in the Junior final and today's Senior victory. The 27-year-old McLean had in the meantime been living in the South Island working for Pleasant Point contractor and former top Open-class shearer Adrian Cox, until she turned home to the Central North Island for her late nan's unveiling in February last year.

"I was just missing home," she said.

She went back to work in the woolsheds around Taihape and started making a mark early this season when she won the Senior final at the Royal Show's Great Raihania Shesars in Hastings in October. She later won in Feilding at the Manawatu A and P Show and at the Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show in Waipukurau.

It was a tough final in which the runner-up was Erana Smith, from Ruatoria but now living in Southland.

Result:

Golden Shears Senior woolhandling final: Jamie McLean (Taihape) n133.7pts, 1; Erana Smith (Ruatoria) 153.71pts, 2; Ebony Turipa (Gore) 168.1pts, 3; Ash Boyce (Dannevirke) 212.94pts, 4.

Ferguson wins with a guiding hand - another Ferguson - March 4, 2017


Shearing at the Golden Shears was one of the last things on the mind of farmer Mark Ferguson as he started to the feel the grip of a tough Hawke's Bay summer a while before Christmas.

But it all changed when he met former World and Golden Shears Open champion and Waipawa shearer Cam Ferguson (no relation), and this afternoon he became another Ferguson to don a winning ribbon at the Golden Shears by winning the Junior final, a father-of-two aged 43 with some of his opposition less than half his age.

Mark Ferguson, who with wife Annie bought a property near Kahuranaki Station about 18 months ago, had always shorn his own sheep, but said he'd never thought of competing until he ventured down the road to help a neighbouring farmer and found himself working in the midst of one of Hawke's Bay's great shearers.

"He gave me a couple of days, he said you're clean enough, so I said, well you'd better show me how to shear a show sheep," Mark Ferguson said moments before today's six-shearer final over 5 second-shear sheep.

It was a moment to ease the nerves which ultimately led to a result almost as close as it could get. Finishing almost a minute after first-man-off Brodie Horrell, of Gore, Ferguson had markedly the best quality points to claim a winning margin of just 0.039pts.

Third was Liam Norrie, of Cheviot, shutting out three shearers working in Hawke's Bay, fourth-placed Steve Hakarai, of Napier, Dannevirke-based Anne-Lise Humstad, of Norway, and Keith Swann, of Wairoa.

Having been given the cue, Ferguson, whose previous sporting endeavours had been motorbike riding with A-grade placing on the North Island circuit, shore three competitions in the lead-up to Masterton's big annual event and won two.

Pointers to his real chances came when he won at Pahiatua on Sunday, and was top qualifier from the 46-shearer heats in Masterton and also top qualifier from the semi-finals. He also received an FMG quality award for best quality points in the Junior heats.

Despite having earned the right to pre-final favouritism in his first-ever visit to Golden Shears, he said as he waited for the event: "I feel lucky to be here. It's such an amazing event."

The bigger excitement seemed to be at home in Hawke's Bay where his wife was looking after five-year-old Ellie and three-year-old Clara.

"They're all excited about the ribbons coming home," he said.

French ambassador wants to shear - serieusement!- March 4, 2017


A new career-path could be beckoning for French Ambassador to New Zealand Florence Jeanblanc-Risler who wants to compete for her country when it hosts the World shearing and woolhandling championships in two years' time.

The hope comes despite the fact that it was only today that she put in her first-ever blows with the hot steel of a shearing handpiece - at the Golden Shears in Masterton - and the fact the she will be 61 by the time the championships are held in Le Dorat, Central France, on July 1-6, 2019.

But there was no indication that she was speaking any other than serieusement after she did what every shearing learner does at the start - a few blows down the last side and across the tail, in this case under the watchful eye of shearing instructor and machinery company representative Russell Knight, of Apiti.

The big difference was that her first touch of the handpiece came on the most vaunted stage in shearing competition, at the show which set the global shearing sports alight when it was first held in Masterton's War Memorial Stadium in 1961.

Mrs Jeanblanc-Risler, a self-appraised "city-girl" who ends her post to Wellington in mid-2018, envisages she will have time to learn to shear, heading out to the countryside where she did develop some affinity with les moutons as she played with lambs as a child around the family's "summer house" at Annecy in the French Alps.

Such interest leapt forward as she linked with the French team preparing for last month's World Championships in Invercargill, and their successful bid to stage the next championships.

She found it was all about the passion of a small town in the countryside, playing a significant role in the economy of a country with 7 million sheep.

She conceded making the team would be "hard work," but, whatever, expects to be still at the championships, 370km south of Paris.



"It was very interesting to go to Invercargill and defend the bid," she said. "They had an amazing team of people, so I will be there (in 2019) in some kind of way, as a VIP or something."

Mrs Jeanblanc-Risler joins a growing list of politicians and diplomats grappling with a shearing handpiece in front of a crowd. Prime Minister Bill English did it at Invercargill, in a brief cameo with retired Te Kuiti shearing great Sir David Fagan, and US Ambassador Mark Gilbert, now detailed back to the states, did so at the 2015 Golden Shears.

Today, stadium commentator Gerald Spain assured her as she clasped the handpiece for the first time that she was "where it all started" for all shearers, being shown by Mr Knight how to peel the last few blows of the last side with the hope of one day learning how to shear a whole sheep and eventually getting a stand as a full-time shearer.

"Thank you so much for helping me," she said as she stretched the back a minute or two later. "I'm a bit disappointed though. I would have liked to do at least half the sheep."

Another Fagan claims a winning ribbon at Golden Shears - March 4, 2017


Things might be looking up for shearing prodigy Jack Fagan to emulate some of the feats of father Sir David Fagan following a win today in historic Golden Shears event the YFC Blue Ribbon Championship.

It was the first time in eight years of Golden Shearing that the 25-year-old from Te Kuiti has had a winner's cheque and a victory speech, but he joins an impressive list of winners, particularly the last 20 years in the seven victors include six who's reached the pinnacle Golden Shears Open final, and one who's one the PGG Wrightson National Championship.

A member North King Country YFC, albeit largely inactive because of the clashes of YFC and shearing events, Fagan was today making his sixth bid for the Blue Ribbon, which dates back to the earliest days of the Golden Shears which were founded in Masterton on the initiative of Young Farmers Club members wanting to improve the competitions available in their area.

The first attempt was as a Senior-grade shearer in 2012, when he was runner-up to Ribbon winner and fellow Te Kuiti shearer Mark Grainger, and he's made the top six in all six attempts.

He has otherwise had an impressive record, having had 26 wins in Junior, Intermediate and Senior grades in New Zealand, and three Open-class wins abroad, two in the UK including a Royal Welsh Show Open title and one in France.

He has however won more than 20 Speedshears, including the Southland All Nations Speedshear during the World shearing and woolhandling championships in Invercargill three weeks ago.

Now in his fourth season in the Open-class he has steadily improved the finals strike-rate in what he accepts is a long path stepping up to the elite grade in which only a small number of exceptionals graduating from Senior class ever start winning in their first 2-3 Open-class seasons.

Fagan was eliminated from this year's Golden Shears championship in last night's quarterfinals, 15th overall and just 0.4pts from the crucial 12th qualifying position, but was today looking forward to another crack next year.

Asked if he reckoned he could make the Golden Shears Open final in 12 months' time, and aware of the post YFC achievements of such shearers as Nathan Stratford, James Fagan, Adam Brausch, David Buick, Angus Moore, Mark Grainger and Aaron Haynes, he said: "It's good odds, then"

Cousin James Fagan won the YFC four times in a row (2003-2006), and other past winners included Jack Fagan's uncle John in 1977 and 1978, preceding his Golden Shears Open win in 1984, and father Sir David's three in a row (1982-1984), the prelude to his 16 wins in the Golden Shears Open Championship.

"Dad always said that you're not a good shearer until you've been a shearer at least 10n years," said Jack Fagan. "So there's time yet."



Kiwis too good for Australia in woolhandling test - March 3, 2017


Two crack kiwi woolhandlers have drawn first blood in the Masterton leg of the twin Transtasman shearing and woolhandling series' by winning the woolhandling test against Australia at the Golden Shears in Masterton tonight.

In the 20th year since a woolhandling test was added to the annual home-and-away shearing sports rivalry in 1998, New Zealand was always going to be tough to beat, with defending Golden Shears Open champion and 2012 and 2017 World champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne partnered with 2008 World champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape.

Australia was represented by experienced Mel Morris, of Cressy, Tas., and 26-year-old Sophie Huf, of Hawkesdale, Vic, who in her first international competition was fourth to Henare in the World Championships final in Invercargill on February 11, just four months after winning the Australian title for the first time.

Alabaster, a seven-times New Zealand Open champion and career schoolteacher who was in her fifth transtasman test, reckoned beforehand she always gets nervous, but was able to take some time out beforehand by watching the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship quarterfinals, before re-entering the "zone" in swhich she would tackle the foes from the western side of the Tasman.

Alongside Henare, who was in his 10th transtasman test, the nervousness barely showed and it was a commanding win for the black-shirts in a contest of eight fleeces for each team, comprising four finewool merinos and four longwooled crossbreds, shorn for the New Zealand team by Lee Edmonds, of Masterton, and Australia-based New Zrealand shearer and World record holder Stacey Te Huia.

Shearing for the Australian woolhandlers were Australia-based New Zealand veteran Hamahona (Sam) Te Whata and son Tipene Te Whata.

New Zealand has now won 28 of the 27 transtasman woolhandling tests, the win being a fillip for the national side ahead of Saturday night's transtasman shearing test, in which Australia is the TAB favourite to win.

Final results on the second day of the 57th Golden Shears International Shearing and Woolhandling Championships being held in Masterton on March 2-4, 2017:

International:

CP Wool Transtasman Wool handling test: New Zealand (Sheree Alabaster, Joel Henare) 298.4pts beat Australia (Sophie Huf, Mel Morris) 468.48pts.

Woolpressing:

Men's Final: Vinnie Goodger (Masterton) 56.7pts, 1; Conan Gray (Masterton) 76.6pts, 2.

Women's final: Christine Wolland (Eketahuna) 54.2pts, 1; Carmen Smith (Pongaroa) 104.95pts, 2. Pairs final: Vinnie Goodger and Conan Gray (Masterton) 46.45pts, 1; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) and Riccie Stevens (Napier) 103.75pts, 2.


New Zealand woolhandlers Sheree Alabaster and Joel Henare on the way to their win over Australians Mel Morris and Sophie Huf in tonight's CP Wool Transtasman woolhandling test match at the 57th Golden Shears in Masterton.

World champ eliminated at Golden Shears - March 3, 2017


There's been a boilover at the Golden Shears in Masterton tonight with new World Champion shearer John Kirkpatrick failing to reach the glamour Golden Shears Open final for only the second time in 20 years.

It was an early quarterfinals elimination for the 46-year-old four-times Golden Shears Open champion, who first shore in the "Goldies" final in 1997, having won the Intermediate final in 1993 and Senior final a year later.

Fifth in each of his first two finals, he has been no further back than third ever since, apart from 2009, when he missed a place in the top six, and 2015 when he was not competing because of a shoulder injury.

An air of drama drifted across the War Memorial Stadium as Kirkpatrick came out of the first of the five six-man Top 30 quarterfinal heats with the unlikely high score of 45.799pts, but even a correction was not enough and he was 18th, missing by over 1.3pts on a place in the top 12 for the Saturday afternoon semi-finals.

Three weeks ago, Kirkpatrick won the World Championships final in Invercargill, a dream of 15 years since 2002 when he became the first shearer to beat the great David Fagan in the Golden Shears Open final for 13 years.

The qualifiers were headed by 2006 champion Dion King, formerly of Flaxmere and now giving Wairarapa a big chance of claiming the big title for the first time. Hot favourite Rowland Smith, of Hastings, qualified in 6th place, and Ants Frew, of Kurow, was the only one of the 12 to reach a Golden Shears Open semi-final for the first time.

In order of qualification, the 12 vying for a place in shearing's most-revered top six tomorrow night are: Dion King (Flaxmere/Alfredton), David Buick (Pongaroa), Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona), Aaron Haynes (Feilding), Tony Coster (Rakaia), Rowland Smith (Hastings), Darin Forde (Lornville), Nathan Stratford (Invercargill), Murray Henderson (Feilding), Paerata Abraham (Masterton), Anthony Frew (Kurow), Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti).


Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick in tonight's Golden Shears Open championship quarterfinals. The winner of the World title three weeks ago in Invercargill, he was a shock early elimination tonight in his bid for a fifth Golden Shears Open title.

Golden Shears Results - Day 2


Results from the day session on Day 2 of the 57th Golden Shears International Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Masterton on March 2-4, 2017:

Shearing:

Open heats (6 second-shear sheep, Top 30 in qualifying order for quarterfinals tonight): Tony Coster (Rakaia) 7min 37sec, 29.549pts, 1; David Buick (Pongaroa) 7min 25.314sec, 29.599pts, 2; Tama Niania (Gisborne) 7min 36.918sec, 30.179pts, 3; Rikihana Chase (Taihape) 7min 40.343sec, 30.362pts, 4; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 7min 40.343sec, 30.684pts, 5; Floyde Neil (Taumarunui) 7min 50.958sec, 31.215pts, 6; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 7min 33.843sec, 31.525pts, 7; Kelvin Walker (Taumarunui) 6min 40.901sec, 31.712pts, 8; Digger Balme (Te Kuiti) 7min 52.248sec, 32.112pts, 9; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 7min 29.04sec, 32.118pts, 10; Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 7min 8.613sec, 32.264pts, 11; Rowland Smith (Hastings) 7min 18.08sec, 32.404pts, 12; Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 7min 46.065sec, 32.636pts, 13; Darin Forde (Lornville) 6min 59.758sec, 32.655pts, 14; Tipene Te Whata (Tautoro) 7min 36.981sec, 32.683pts, 15; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona) 7min 6.052sec, 32.803pts, 16; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 7min 6.653sec 32.833pts, 17; Murray Henderson (Halcombe) 8min 14.433sec, 33.222pts, 18; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 7min 36.083sec, 33.304pts, 19; Dion King (Flaxmere/Alfredton) 7min 47.725sec, 33.386pts, 20; Jason Wingfield (Australia) 7min 35.889sec, 33.46pts, 21; Cam Ferguson (Waipawa) 7min 39.321sec, 33.632pts, 22; Axle Reid (Taihape) 7min 58.614sec, 33.764pts, 23; Stacey Te Huia (Te Kuiti/Dubbo) 6min 45.905sec, 34.295pts, 24; Anthony Frew (Timaru) 7min 49.606sec, 34.38pts, 25; Shannon Warnest (Australia) 8min 9.064sec, 34.953pts, 26; Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 7min 37.397sec, 35.036pts, 27; Jordan Boyes (Owaka) 7in 31.662sec, 35.416pts, 28; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 8min 1.181sec, 35.559pts, 29; RTuri Edmonds (Raetihi) 8min 35.2sec, 35.593pts, 30.

Senior heats (5 second-shear sheep, top 12 in qualifying order for Semi-final on Saturday morning): Dartren Aleander (Whangamomona) 7min 1.088sec, 30.254pts, 1; Aaron Bell (Waipawa) 7min 52.8sec, 31.24pts, 2; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 8min 45.071sec, 31.454pts, 3; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 7min 58.653sec, 32.133pts, 4; Nicholas Greaves (satffordshire, England) 7min 34.946sec, 32.747pts, 5; Lionel Taumata (Gore) 8min 0.504sec, 33.825pts, 6; Tomas Lima (Levin) 8min 42.941sec, 34.147pts, 7; Ilan Jones (Wales) 7min 59.233sec, 34.162pts, 8; Conan Te Kene (Taumarunui) 7min 18.608sec, 35.13pts, 9; Lee Harris (Hamilton, Vic) 8min 48.8sec, 35.24pts, 10; Hua Edwards (Taumarunui) 8min 33.072sec, 35.854pts, 11; Linton Palmer (Dipton) 8min 46.189sec, 35.909pts, 12.

Intermediate semi-finals (5 second-shear sheep): Laura Bradley (Woodville) 8min 51.456sec, 32.573pts, 1; Brandon Maguire (Winton) 8min 53.272sec, 33.264pts, 2; Tom Brewer (Naracoorte, Australia) 9min 2.299dsec, 34.715pts, 3; Neil Bryant (Levin) 9min 50.303sec, 34.915pts, 4; Connor Puha (Kimbolton) 9min 2.064sec, 36.503pts, 5; Josh Harding (Hunterville) 8min 42.793sec, 36.54pts, 6; Blake Hewes (Glen Murray) 9min 23.628sec, 36.581pts, 7; George Olof (England) 8min 58.989sec, 36.749pts, 8; Sean Gouk (Taupo) 9min 32.571sec, 36.829pts, 9; Cody Greig (Levin) 9min 1.763sec, 38.288pts, 10; Jordan Hart (Blenheim) 8min 43.427sec, 39.171pts, 11; Trent Hewes (Glen Murray) 9min 12.841sec, 40.242pts, 12; Gwydion Davies (Wales) 9min 3.353sec, 40.768pts, 13; Emily Te Kapa (Scotland) 9min 55.165sec, 41.158pts, 14; Ruka Braddick (Eketahuna) 9min 52.702sec, 41.435pts, 15; Daniel Seed (Woodville) 8min 22.701sec, 41.535pts, 16; John James (Wales) 9min 33.365sec, 41.868pts, 17; Richard Paulsen (Waikaretu) 9min 11.756sec, 45.988pts. The top 6 shear in the final on Saturday afternoon.

Junior semi-finals (4 second-shear sheep): Mark Fergusson (Invercargill) 9min 7.856sec, 36.393pts, 1; Liam Norrie (Cheviot) 9min 49.099sec, 38.705pts, 2; Brodie Horrell (Gore) 9min 11.578sec, 39.329pts, 3; Steve Hakaraia (Napier) 9min 47.821sec, 42.891pts, 4; Anne-Lise Humstad (Norway) 10min 38.445sec, 43.422pts, 5; Keith Swann (Wairoa) 10min 50.901sec, 43.795pts, 6; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 13min 3.366sec, 48.368pts, 7; Tamahou Aranui (Martinborough) 9min 39.024sec, 48.451pts, 8; Ryan MacLean (Scotland) 11min 16.715sec, 49.586pts, 9; Matthew Smith (Otorohanga) 1min 40.416sec, 50.271pts, 10; Paora Moanaroa (Eketahuna) 9min 18.076sec, 51.404pts, 11; Hemi White (Reporoa) 12min 3.459sec, 52.173pts, 12; Natalya Rangiawha (Raglan) 12min 17.082sec, 53.604pts, 13; Darren Bryant (Levin) 11min 52.618sec, 53.631pts, 14; Caron Gwyn Evans (Wales) 10min 21.682sec, 55.084pts, 15; Mason Bright (Takapau) 8min 43.066sec, 56.653pts, 16; Bailey Rush (Kimbolton) 12min 47.823sec, 56.891pts, 17; Atawhai Hadfield (Wairoa) 13min 4.014sec, 57.451pts, 18. The top 6 shear n the final on Saturday afternoon.;

Woolhandling: Open heats (top 16 for quarterfinals in qualifying order): Joel Henare (Gisborne) 64.2pts, 1; Rocky Hape-Taite (Dannevirke) 95pts, 2; Tina Elers (Mataura) 95.8pts, 3; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu/Te Kuiti) 98pts, 4; Maryanne Baty (Gisborne) 1103pts, 5; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 107pts, 6; Veronica (Roni) Goss (Mangamahu Valley) 107pts, 7; Chelsea Collier (Gore) 119pts, 8; Sophie Huf (Australia)119pts, 9; Anne Maree Kahukura (Omakau) 120pts, 11; Liesha Atkinson (Eketahuna) 120.4pts, 12; Cushla Abraham (Masterton) 124pts, 13; Eramiha Neho (Dannevirke) 126pts, 14; Logan Kamura (Marton) 127pts, 15; Amy Karaka (Te Karaka) 129.2pts,16. The quarterfinal will be held on Saturday morning.

Woolpressing:

Men's semi-final: Vinnie Goodger (Masterton) 39.25pts, 1; Conan Gray (Masterton) 52.3pts, 2; Jono Hicks (Marton) 129.75pts, 3; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 159.25pts, 4. Goodger and Gray meet in in the final tonight (Friday).

Shepherd's delight: She made me do it - March 2, 2017


Farm shepherd Mark Baxter had a handy sort of role model to get him on the way in father and former YFC national Young Farmer of the Year Shaun.

But it took fiance Samantha Pritchard to really show him the way which led to a win today in the Golden Shears Novice Shearing final at the end of the first day of the 57th annual shearing and woolhandling championships in Masterton. He was pictured talking with stadium announced and commentator Tuma Mullins moments after the 5min 10sec it took to nal the dream win.

The 23-year-old, whose father and mother Tracie farm Wairakau Station, between Pongaroa and the coast south of Dannevirke, said he's done little shearing, and only started competing to follow girlfriend and now fiance Samantha, whom he will marry in November.

She and her brothers had started doing the shearing shows, but Baxter said: "I'm still a shepherd.". But it's become something more than that in the remote Southern Hawke's Bay and Northern Wairarapa community, with the evolving Team Pongaroa playing an even bigger part in the six-man final over two sheep each.


Pongaroa shepherd Mark Baxter speaks to stadium commentator
Tuma Mullins while he awaits the result of the Golden Shears
Novice Shearing final he won in Masterton today.

Shearing on Stand Five, Baxter was first off the board, with his back to future brother-in-law Leam Pritchard who was next off in just over 5min 57sec, while also in the final was the winner's own brother, Andrew Baxter.

Ultimately Baxter had a winning margin of almost four-and-a-half points over runner-up and Gisborne youngster Richmond Ngarangione, unable to emulate sister Aromia Ngarangione, who had just won the Novice woolhandling final.

Third place went to Massey University student Ariana Hadfield, daugher of 2015 Ahuwhenua Maoeri Excellence in Farming Award winners and Northern Hawke's Bay farmers Bart and Nuku Hadfield.

Baxter's father was YFC Farmer of the Year in 1997, and won the Tararua District Sheep and Beef Farm Business if the Year Award.

Results of finals on the opening day of the 57th Golden Shears International shearing and woolhandling championships being held in Masterton on March 2-4:

Shearing:

Golden Shears Novice Shearing final (2 sheep): Mark Baxter (Pongaroa) 5min 9.975sec, 31.999pts, 1; Richmond Ngarangione (Gisborne) 6min 11.868sec, 35.593pts, 2; Ariana Hadfield (Wairoa) 8min 1.219sec, 37.061pts, 3; Leam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 39.359pts, 4; Flynn Harvey (Kaitaia) 8min 8.954pts, 5; 40.448pts, 5; Andrew Baxter (Pongaroa) 6min 32.665sec, 42.133pts, 6. Golden Shears Novice Woolhandling Championship final (Aromia Ngarangione (Gisborne) 46.2pts, 1; Georgia Oliverr (Masterton) 59.6pts, 2; Mize Peneha (Masterton) 73.4pts, 3; Shyla Karaitiana (Masterton) 91.4pts, 4.

Goldies win: "I only wanted to pay off the student loan" - March 2, 2017


Gisborne woolhandler Aromia Ngarangione only wanted to pay off the student loan.

But the EIT graduate's return to fulltime work in woolsheds, after three years studying contemporary art, had an even better reward when she won the Golden Shears Novice woolhandling title in Masterton today.

She was pictured in the final, the first event decided on the opening day of the three-day 57th Golden Shears. It was the first time the 24-year-old had competed in a woolhandling competition, something she decided to do after returning from working West Australia last year.

"I wanted to get out of my comfort zone," she said, after a final in which the three others were all from Masterton. The runner-up was Geoorgia Oliver, Midz Peneha was third, and fourth place went to Secon

She works for Gisborne shearing contractors Ian and Beth Kirkpatrick, and said: :I'm just trying to pay-off my student loan. It's very big."

As well as thanking the bosses she also thanked Open-class woolhandler Amy Karaka who had shown her some of the nuances of the competition scene.

She comes from a long line of shearing industry workers, including older brother Wi Poutu, who in 2010 won the Golden Shears Intermediate shearing title.

Ngarangione started in a field of 14 in the heats, and just made it into the final as fourth qualifier, a reverse of the fortunes of Shyla Karaitiana, who was top qualifier but had to settle for fourth place at the end. The runner-up was Georgia Oliver and third place went to Midz Peneha.

Ngarangione was almost part of a what would have been a unique opening-day double. Soon after her win, brother Richmond was runner-up in the Novice shearing final won by Pongaroa shepherd Mark Baxter.

More than 20 titles are being decided during the championships in Masterton's War Memorial Stadium, the venue for the annual world-leading shearing sports showpiece since it was first held in 1961, and best known for the glamour event, the Golden Shears Open final which will be shorn on Saturday night.

Results of finals on the opening day of the 57th Golden Shears International shearing and woolhandling championships being held in Masterton on March 2-4:

Shearing:

Golden Shears Novice final (2 sheep): Mark Baxter (Pongaroa) 5min 9.975sec, 31.999pts, 1; Richmond Ngarangione (Gisborne) 6min 11.868sec, 35.593pts, 2; Ariana Hadfield (Wairoa) 8min 1.219sec, 37.061pts, 3; Leam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 39.359pts, 4; Flynn Harvey (Kaitaia) 8min 8.954pts, 5; 40.448pts, 5; Andrew Baxter (Pongaroa) 6min 32.665sec, 42.133pts, 6. Golden Shears Novice Woolhandling Championship final (Aromia Ngarangione (Gisborne) 46.2pts, 1; Georgia Oliverr (Masterton) 59.6pts, 2; Mize Peneha (Masterton) 73.4pts, 3; Shyla Karaitiana (Masterton) 91.4pts, 4.


Gisborne woolhandler Aromia Ngarangione on her way to winning the Golden Shears Novice woolhandling final in Masterton today.


Gisborne woolhandler Ngrangione about to receive the prize for winning the Golden Shears Novice Woolhandling title today on the first day of the three-day 57th Golden Sheasrs International shearing and woolhandling championships in Masterton.

The hot gossip is Smith to win again at The Goldies - March 2, 2017


Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith has been rated such a hot favourite to successfully defend the Golden Shears Open title that the TAB has also opened a pool excluding him from the options.

The pools are among eight relating to five events which will be decided at the 57th annual shearing and woolhandling championships starting in Masterton today (Thursday) and finishing with four the five betting event finals on Saturday night. Smith, the 2014 World Champion, is sitting on a string of nine consecutive wins, including the Southland All Nations Open final during the World championships in Invercargill on February 8-11.

The TAB was offering $1.33 on three-times Golden Shears Open winner Smith, with four-times winner and new World champion John Kirkpatrick, also from Hawke's Bay, the second favourite at $6.

In the pool excluding Smith, and payable on the second placegetter if Smith wins, Kirkpatrick was the favourite at $4. There is also betting on competitors to make the top three in the shearing final

The TAB has taken a similar stance in the Open woolhandling, with defending champion Joel Henare, who regained the World title three weeks ago, a $1.40 favourite, as well as being a $1.40 favourite in an Henare v The Field option, with anyone to beat Henare paying $2.70.

New Zealand are a warm $1.35 favourite to beat Austtralia in Friday night's Transtasman woolhandling test, but in Saturday's shearing test Australia are favoured at $1.75, with New Zealand paying $1.95.

The other pool is on New Zealand's premier multi-breeds shearing title, sometimes regarded as the Ironman event, with five-times winner and defending champion Tony Cost the favourite paying $2.75.

Punters can also take such wagers as multi-bets, such as did one punter successfully on the three favourites and everntual winners of the individual events at the World Championships, resulting in a profit of several thousand dollar. In multi-bets, punters pre-select events in sequence, the winnings each time being automatically reinvested on the next selection and multiplying the dividend, only payabler if all selections in the sequence win.

For up-to-date odds go to https://static.tab.co.nz/content/pdf_form/Sport_Schedule.html and scroll to Shearing.


Golden Shears champion Rowland Smith is hot favourite to retain the title on Saturday. He was pictured last Sunday winning the Pahiatua Shears final, his ninth win in a row this season.

Fagan back where it began: Watching the Golden Shears - March 1, 2017


Shearing legend Sir David Fagan tomorrow(Thursday) heads to Masterton's Golden Shears for a 42nd year in a row as keen as ever about the big event, despite industry and sports concerns about a drop in the number of entries.

Sir David first travelled from King Country to the shears as a schoolboy in 1976 to support older brother John. Despite having at the time, he reckons, barely known what a shearing handpiece looked like, it was only eight years later that he was runner-up in his brother's only Golden Shears Open win, and just another two years before the first of his own record 16 wins in the glamour event from 1986 to 2009.

Now chairman of national body Shearing Sports New Zealand he says the decline in the number of entries, in the three-day Golden Shears, starting tomorrow (Thursday), part of a drop experienced across many of the 60 competitions throughout the country this summer, punters can still expect to see the best in the country, including four new World champions, coming through heading towards Saturday night's big finals.

"The cream will always rise to the top," he said. "Once the elimination stages are through, it really heats up and all the top ones will still be there."

While no longer competing, apart from a minute sharing the competition board with Prime Minister Bill English in a break during the World Championships in Invercargill two weeks ago, he said: "The Golden Shears is still to the forefront of any shearing sports competitor's mind. Me? I'm a spectator now. I'm looking forward to it."

Golden Shears president Philip Morrison said more than 30 entries had "come-in" this week and he hoped entries could get to 350, which would still be short of the 2016 entry.

More than 3500 sheep are ready, mainly Romney ewes from farms in the district but also including about 200 finewooled merino wethers from Central Otago and small numbers of lambs and corriedales.

Having comprised less than 10 almost-all shearingevents when first held in 1961 in annual venue the Masterton War Memorial Stadium, the Golden Shears now feature more than 20 shearing, woolhandling and pressing events, including Transtasman woolhandling and shearing tests between New Zealand and Australia.

Classic examples of the talent on display are the appearance of the new World champions, shearers John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, and woolhandlers Joel Henare and Mary-Anne Baty, both from Gisborne.

But Hastings shearer Rowland Smith, the 2014 World champion, is defending the Golden Shears Open title, and was today rated such a hot favourite by the TAB that in addition to its usual "To Win" pool it has established an option with Smith excluded.

Competition will take place in the Open, Senior, Intermediate, Junior and Novice Shearing grades, the Open, Senior, Junior and Novice woolhandling grades, and men's women's, and pairs woolpressing.

As well as the Trastasman test matches, there are also the PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championship final (the country's premier multi-breeds shearing event), a Speedshear, a traditional Maori-Pakeha teams shearing event, YFC events dating back to the shears' earliest days, and a triathlon - the combined points of competitors prepared to have a go at all three disciplines of shearing, woolhandling and pressing.

Hard work pays for Goldies hopeful Karauria - March 1, 2017


One of the many tireless workers and competitors during the World shearing and woolhandling championship in Invercargill earlier this month has been rewarded with a big win on the eve of the 57th Golden Shears.

The three-day Golden Shears start in Masterton tomorrow (Thursday), Alexandra woolhandler Pagan Karauria heading north with the dream of winning Golden Shears Open title for the first time on Saturday night.

She got an early shot in the arm today (Wednesday) when she beat World Champion and defending Golden Shears Open champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, to win the Pre-Shears Open Woolhandling Championship in Massey University's Riverside Farm woolshed at Mikimiki, just north of Masterton.


Pagan Karauria, who today won the Pre-Shears Woolhandling Open Championships,
on the ev of the start of the 57th Golden Shears. She was pictured working and
in a support event at the World Championships in Invercargill earlier this month.

Despite having just missed selection in the New Zealand team for the World event in Invercargill on February 8-11, Karauria returned home from a base in Australia to manager the championships' working woolhandling team as well finish second to Henare in the associated Southland All-Nations Open Woolhandling Championships and sixth in the All Nations Senior shearing final.

Today's was a demanding contest across the wool from 10 sheep for each of the four finalists, and Karauria said: "I'm so happy to win, across 10 sheep. It was the first timre I've made the Pre-Shears final. It was a very intense final but one of the best I've been in for a while."

She said she was particularly grateful for the four-days' work provide by Dannevirke contractor Aria Mullins, and the impact it had on her endurance, and for the support shown by Henare in his moment of defeat, by a narrow margin of just over 4pts.

It was thought to have been her 13th win New Zealand, but she's also had a string of wins in Open woolhandling, senior shearing and speedshear events in Australia.

Third place today went to Amy Karaka, from Te Karaka, near Gisborne, and fourth was Monica Potae, from Milton.

Angela Stevens, daughter of new World Champion Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick, won the Senior final today, and husband Ricci Stevens won the Junior final.

57th Golden Shears ready to go - March 1, 2017


Many of the best shearers and woolhandlers and pressers have started gathering in Masterton for the the 57th Golden Shears International Shearing Championships.

Early arrivals included woolhandlers taking part in the Pre-Shears Woolhandling Championships today(Wednesday) at Mikimiki, north of Masterton.

The three-day Golden Shears start tomorrow(Thursday), with more than 20 events to be decided, includig the glamour Golden Shears Open shearing and woolhandling titles on Saturday night and Transtasman woolhandling and ahearing tests on Friday and Saturday nights respectively.

The championships take place among some concern about a drop in competitor numbers across most of the more than 60 competitions and shows across the season.

But Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman and Te Kuiti shearing legend Sir David Fagan says the Golden Shears has lost none of the "allure" he enjoyed at the championships during more than 30 years competing on the famed six-stand stage in Masterton's War Memorial Stadium, where the World-leading Golden Shears have been held every year since being founded in 1961.

Sir David first attended "the Shears" in 1976 to watch older brother John in the early stages of a career which would see the pair, with John winning, claim a family quinella in the 1984 Open shearing final.

He said while entries may be down, thought to stem from a number of factors including the dwindling sheep population, now said to be under 28 million, the "cream will always rise to the top."

"Once the elimination stages are through, it really heats up and all the top ones will still be there," he said, about to head to Masterton to see the Golden Shears for 42nd year in a row.

Classic examples are the appearance of the new World champions, Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick and Invercargill's Nathan Stratford, who face-up to defending Golden Shears Open champion Rowland Smith, of Hastings, in the battle for the glamour title, and woolhandlers Joel Henare and Mary-Anne Baty, both of Gisborne.

While no longer competing, although having a minute return to the competition board to face Prime Minister Bill English during the World Championships in Invercargill two weeks ago, he said: "The Golden Shears is still to the forefront of any shearing sports competitor's mind. Me? I'm looking forward to it."

Competition will take place in the Open, Senior, Intermediate, Junior and Novice Shearing grades, the Open, Senior, Junior and Novice woolhandling grades, and men's women's, and pairs woolpressing.

As well as the Trastasman test matches, there are also the PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championship final (the country's premier multi-breeds shearing event), a Speedshear, a traditional Maori-Pakeha teams shearing, YFC events dating back to the shears' earliest days, and a triathlon - the combined points of competitors prepared to have a go at all three disciplines of shearing, woolhandling and pressing.

Golden Shears president Philip Morrison said more than 30 entries had "come-in" this week and he hoped enytries could get to 350, which would still be short of the 2016 entry.

More than 3500 sheep are ready, mainly Romney ewes from farms in the district but also including about 200 finewooled merino wethers from Central Otago and small numbers of lambs and corriedales.




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