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Show Loyalty Wins The Day For Woolhandler Monica Potae

Coromandel woolhandler Monica Potae’s patience and perseverance was rewarded when she won the Open final at the Rotorua A and P Show’s Agrodome Shears on Saturday.

An Open-class competitor for 21 years it was just her third win, her first having been at the Taihape A and P Show in 2017 and her second at Dannevirke last season, which she finished by being runner-up in the New Zealand Shears Open final in Te Kuiti in April.

But, despite Rotorua being the last competition before Christmas, there would be no relaxing, with Potae heading straight for Hunterville with a couple of days instructing for Elite Wool Industry Training, on the back of a similar course near Te Kuiti last week.

For Potae it’s almost like someone spreading the gospel, not only teaching the craft of daily life in the woolshed, but also how it, the farmer’s wool yield and the New Zealand wool industry can benefit from the challenge of competitions throughout the country.

“You’re never too old to follow your dreams,” she says.

There have been eight woolhandling competitions so far this season and Potae has been at most from Alexandra in the south, where the New Zealand Merino Championships final was won by sister Tia Potae, to the season’s northernmost at Rotorua.

The eight shows to date, with a seven-weeks break until national long wool and lambs title events in Southland on January 19-20, have had seven different winners, and Saturday’s was by far the closest.

Potae beat Aria woolhandler Sue Turner by just 0.7pts, an excrutiatingly close margin in woolhandling, with Piopio-based Azuredee Paku third in her third Open final, and first-year Open-class competitor Te Anna Phillips, of Taumarunui, fourth in her first Open final.

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The Open shearing final had a similar infusion of up-and-coming talent, although the more experienced Te Kuiti shearers, Jack Fagan and James Ruki, were first and second respectively.

Third place in the five-man showdown of 20 sheep each went to Naki Maraki, from Flaxmere, who was in his first Open final, 10 years after being the first winner of the Hawke’s Bay show’s secondary schools competition.

Welsh shearer Philip Price, who had shown just won Open final previously, a year and a half ago at Bro Ddyfi in Wales.

The Senior shearing final was won by Gisborne shearer Te Ua Wilcox, his third win of the season, East Coast shepherd Dylan Young scored his fourth win of the season with victory in the Intermediate final, and Napier shearer Kaivah Cooper continued his domination of North Island Junior shearing this season with his sixth win.

The other winner was young King Country competitor Makayla Neil, who has been in six of the eight Junior woolhandling finals throughout the country this season. She had also won at Waimate on October 6.

The Agrodome Shears attracted 42 entries in the four shearing grades, and 31 in three woolhandling grades.

Results from the Agrodome Shears at the Rotorua A and P Show on Saturday, December 2, 2023:

Shearing:

Open final (20 sheep): Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 19min 21sec, 65.6pts, 1; James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 18min 56sec, 68.2pts, 2; Whakapunake (Naki) Maraki (Flaxmere) 19min 12sec, 68.9pts, 3; Philip Price (Wales) 19min 55sec, 70.15pts, 4; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 20min 11sec, 72.3pts, 5.

Senior final (10 sheep): Te Ua Wilcox (Gisborne) 12min 2sec, 43.7pts, 1; Gabriel Winders (Wintonn) 11min 53sec, 44.75pts, 2; Bruce Grace (Wairoa/Napier) 12min 2sec, 45.3pts, 3; Forde Alexander (Taumarunui) 12min 56sec, 47pts, 4; Jake Hamerton (Ruawai/Hastings) 12min 49sec, 52.05pts, 5.

Intermediate final (6 sheep): Dylan Young (Gisborne) 8min 20sec, 33.333prs, 1; Rory Owen (Wales) 9min 15sec, 35.417pts, 2; Ethan Fladgate (Te Awamutu) 9min 13sec, 36.317pts, 3; Rhys Morris (Glyn-Ceiriog, Wales) 10min 37sec, 40.517pts, 4; Ryka Swann (Wairoa) 9min 15sec, 42.917pts, 5.

Junior final (4 sheep): Kaivah Cooper (Napier) 7min 8sec, 28.15pts, 1; Paddy Dunne (Wicklow, Ireland) 7minn 19sec, 33.7pts, 2; Benji Armstrong (Rotorua) 9minn 32sec, 39.6pts, 3; 39.6pts, 3; Thomas Marchant (Maramarua) 6min 59sec, 41.95pts, 4; Tom Kerley (Wairoa) 11min 6sec, 42.3pts, 5.

Woolhandling:

Open final: Monica Potae (Kennedy Bay) 45.918pts, 1; Sue Turner (Aria) 45.988pts, 2; Azuredee Paku (Masterton/Piopio) 49.28pts, 3; Te Anna Phillips (Taumarunui) 74.16pts, 4.

Senior final: Whakapunake (Naki) Maraki (Flaxmere) 57.526pts, 1; Vinniye Phillips (Taumarunui) 60.944pts, 2; Tatijana Keefe (Raupunga) 63.78pts, 3; Lee George (Te Kuiti) 83.04pts, 4.

Junior final: Makayla Neil (Piopio) 48.87pts, 1; Rahera Lewis (Taihape) 67.91pts, 2; Jevana Manson (Piopio) 73.09pts, 3; Ngahuia Salmond (Te Kuiti) 81.41pts, 4.

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