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Golden Shears start – an 11-year-old throws his stuff

March 3, 2016, 10.30am

Golden Shears start – an 11-year-old throws his stuff

An 11-year-old Dannevirke schoolboy has taken the limelight on the opening morning of the 56th Golden Shears which opened in Masterton today.

Cortez Ostler, described by “nanna” and woolhandling competitor and judge Rose Puha as “like a shows baby,” competed in the third heat of the opening event, the Novice woolhandling, already with one completion win behind him and determined to emulate uncle Connor Puha, who at the age of 17 is already an Open-class woolhandler and who two years ago won the Golden Shears Novice shearing title.

The youngster, a pupil at Huia Range School in Dannevirke and who turned 11 on December 12, is one of more than 400 shearers, woolhandlers and woolpressers who will compete over the three days of the “Goldies” or the “Shears”, as they are known among competitors and officials.

Because of his age he was an immediate focus of attention soon after the Shears kicked-off at 7.45am, having finished fourth at his first competition, on January 30 at the Taihape A and P Show, and having scored his first win at the Apiti YFC Sports last Saturday.

The youngster, son of Logan Whaitiri and Ashleigh Ostler and who’s grown-up around the shearing fraternity with the Puha relations around Kimbolton, north of Feilding, was shy and single-worded after his moment in which he had literally one throw of the dice – or more specifically “wool.”

It was his first full-wool competition, the first where he could test his skills throwing the fleece onto the table, as opposed to the second-shear and lambshearing stage of the season where the shorter wool is sorted and separated on the shearing board.

His own assessment: “Alright.”

But Nanna Rose was impressed, saying: “He had just one shot. His fleece was good, he placed it and walked back, it was beautiful placement.”

Already a student of the sport’s rulebook, the competitive intent was obvious, a strength his nanna says comes from his rugby and now rugby league, and it helps that his father is one of the coaches.

Event over, the wait started as Cortez waited through other heats to see if he would qualify for the final in the afternoon, for the first of 19 titles to be decided at this year’s Golden Shears.

Alas, of the 27 in the Novice Woolhandling heats, and scoring best points in the fleece segment of the judging, Cortez Ostler was 10th overall, missing the cut for the semi-final by two places.

Qualifiers: Chiara Kirikiri (Masterton), Catherine Mullooly (Matawai), Ronald Eria (Hastings),Dayna Rutene (Masterton), Linton Palmer (Dipton), Cheyenne Walker (Masterton), Ricci Stevens (Napier and Gisborne), Samantha Pritchard (Pongaroa)


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