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A Big Day For The King Country Crew At New Zealand Shears'

New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association president Mark Barrowcliffe may be the top boss in the industry but also runs a gang of some of the top up-and-coming talent as was shown at on the opening day of the New Zealand Shears in Te Kuiti today.

Staff of the Piopio-based enterprise claimed the first two titles of the three-day championships, the Junior woolhandling final won by Rahera Kerr, 31, from Hauturu, and the Senior final by Azuredee Paku, 36, from Masterton.

Both from inter-generational shearing families, they were unofficial pre-post favourites as the top-performers in their grades during the season.

Kerr reached 10 finals and added today’s success to earlier wins at the Central Hawke’s Bay Aand P Show in Waipukurau in November and the Rangitikei Shearing Sports North Island Championships in Marton in February.

Paku reached 9 finals, with just the one previous win, also at Marton, but is now looking forward to mixing it with the big guns of the Open grade next season.

Among Kerr’s mentors has been Te Kuiti’s Keryn Herbert, who today retained the North Island Open Woolhandling Circuit title, in a final normally held at the Golden Shears in Masterton, which were cancelled last month because of Covid-19 Level 2 alert.

Herbert’s win, qualifying for a place in the New Zealand transtasman series team next summer if the series goes ahead, was some consolation for missing out on a place in the five for the New Zealand Shears Open final, to be contested on Saturday night.

She and 9-times winner and 2010 World Teams Champions teammate Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, were both eliminated in the semi-finals.

Former Southland shearer Troy Pyper justified his late decision to fly north for the Shears by being top qualifier for the National All-Breeds Shearing Championships, which will be shorn on Saturday afternoon and which would otherwise also have been held in Masterton.

Today’s semi-final comprised 12 qualifiers from an earlier curtailed series of four shows, but it was a disaster for Hawke’s Bay-based Scotsman and former World and Golden Shears champion Gavin Mutch – the top qualifier from the preliminaries but who was held up by car problems en route, and made it with barely 30 seconds to spare, only to tail the field on the day.

Entries for the championships accelerated to the highest level in Te Kuiti for several years, with more than 270 shearers and woolhandlers expected to have taken part by the end on Saturday night.

The championships weren’t held last year because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Results from the first day of the 2021 New Zealand Shears shearing and woolhandling championships being held in Te Kuiti on April 8-10:

Shearing

National All-Breeds Shearing Circuit semi-final (8 sheep -2 merino, 2 longwool, 2 second-shear, 2 lambs, first 6 shearers to final on Saturday afternoon): Troy Pyper (Invercargill/Cheviot) 10min 16.92sec, 42.971pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier/Pakipaki) 11min 15.25sec, 45.513pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 11min 33.37sec, 46.919pts, 3; Leon Samuels (Invercargill) 11min 29.64sec, 49.607pts, 4; Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 12min 0.18sec, 52.009pts, 5; Axle Reid (Taihape) 12min 56.09sec, 53.555pts, 6; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 12min 4.24sec, 54.212pts, 7; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 11min 50.07sec, 56.754pts, 8; James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 13min 12.13sec, 57.982pts, 9; Simon Goss (Mangamahu) 12min 21.43sec, 58.947pts, 10; Matene Mason (Masterton) 12min 18.47sec, 60.799pts, 11; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Dannevirke) 10min 33.18sec, 61.284pts, 12.

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