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Busy time ahead for tireless woolhandler…and shearer

A long wait is almost over for Central Otago woolhandler and shearer Pagan Karauria as she opens a World titles campaign set to be possibly the busiest competitor in the four days of the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships starting in France today.

Daughter of a champion shearer and a champion woolhandler, Karauria will compete in the Open Woolhandling and Women’s shearing at the French All-Nations Championships which set the platform for the World individual and teams championships she will contest on Saturday and Sunday.

One of six members of the Allflex New Zealand Shearing and Woolhandling at the championships in central France town Le Dorat, Karauria had to “make a call sometime” when she decided not to enter the All Nations Senior shearing event as well.

As one of New Zealand’s top woolhandlers and as winner of the first Women’s shearing final at Te Kuiti’s New Zealand Shears she could be competing as many as 12 times progressing from heats to finals in Le Dorat.

The All-Nations Women’s, Intermediate and Junior shearing titles will all be decided on the opening day, as well as the All-Nations Senior shearing and Open woolhandling heats.

“I had to remember what I was here for,” she said as she and husband and All-Nations Open shearing entrant Tamehana prepared combs and cutters at their team’s accommodation, an agricultural college on the outskirts of Magnac Laval, a village less than 7km from the championships village and its huge metal-framed 2500-seat marquee stadium.

The beau isn’t the only family in town, with father Dion Morrell helping wife Gabriela Schmidt-Morrell and daughter Charis Morrell in the Swiss team.

Karauria, who made her way into the New Zealand team by winning a lengthy woolhandling selection series after just missing-out on a place in the team in 2017, said when asked if she was ready: “Yes, I can’t wait, and it’s all up to what’s up in the top two inches. I’ve got a job to do.”

As for nervousness, it helps that there are family around and she said there are conditions that that are “new to all of us” which makes the outcome possibly more open than any other World woolhandling championship before it.

Of the team members Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and blade shearers Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, will be competing in the All-Nations blades competition, but the all-Hawke’s Bay machine shearing pairing of former World champions Rowland Smith, of Hastings, will not be seen in action until the All-Nations woolhandling heats on Friday.

A small number of other New Zealand competitors will be among more than 300 in the All-Nations events, which are open to allcomers.


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