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Cool Operator - Emergency Nurese On To A Winner, At Shearing

A 22-year-old emergency department nurse who sheared sheep mainly to pay her way through her studies is continuing to claim winning ribbons in a continuing drive to help keep shearing competitions going in the top of the south.

The latest success for Kimberley MacLean came on Saturday in the Intermediate grade at the Tapawera Shears, south of Nelson – eight years after she first started shearing in competitions while still a pupil at Motueka High School.

Scoring her fifth Intermediate win – on top of six in the Junior class in 2017-2019 - she was one of just three in the grade. It has at time been less, and she says: “I love doing the shows, especially supporting the local ones.”

“I don’t do much shearing, because I am a full-time emergency nurse, so I only have the opportunity to do one day a week in the woolsheds if I’m lucky.”

All of her 11 wins, including the Tapawera Shears Intermediate ribbon also in 2021, have been in the region – with at least one at each of the seven Nelson-Marlborough shows, from Nelson to Kaikoura.

But in 2019 she did venture to the Golden Shears in Masterton, as one of 48 shearers in the Junior class.

She finished 16th among the 18 semi-final qualifiers, almost all of whom have since won competitions bigger than any she’s tried in her home region, including Golden Shears and New Zealand Shears titles, or achieved No 1 spot on Shearing Sports New Zealand’s annual rankings through the grades.

“I would love to go back in the future, when I have the chance to do a bit more shearing between shows,” she says.

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Growing up on a small family farm, she learnt to shear from local Open-class competitor Baden Barker, and then started shearing for contractor Emma Hodgkinson - “to get some numbers under my belt.”

Asked what the current workmates make of a nurse that shears as a sport, she says: “They think it is hard case that I shear, but great that it was a good way to come out of my degree debt free.”

As a nurse also in the wool industry she’s not alone, for last March Eleri Bradley took a day off work as a nurse in theatre at Palmerston North Hospital to win the Golden Shears Novice woolhandling final in Masterton.

MacLean used to play rugby, but had to give it up this year as it was too hard to balance shift work with weekend sport.

She also moved to Richmond, on the outskirts of Nelson, to be closer to work, but says: “Any chance I get to get some country air I take.”

There were just 19 shearers across for grades at Tapawera – compared with more than 200 shearers and woolhandlers at the Taihape Shearing Sports on the same day in the central North Island.

Former Southland shearer Floyd Haare successfully defended the Open shearing title, as one of nine entries with fastest time by more than two minutes over the 20 sheep, and the best quality, winning by 8.63 points from the four-man final’s runner-up, Marlborough shearer Duncan Higgins.

Tapawera shearer Timo Hicks also successfully defended the Senior title and the Junior event was won by Emma Hodgkinson, of Tapawera.

With the Marlborough A and P Shears in November cancelled, it was the third show in the region this summer, following the Nelson and Motueka shows, where the Open finals were both won by Travers Baigent, of Wakefield.

The next is next Saturday’s Reefton Shears, on lambs and usually attracting the most entries in the region, with blades in addition to the machines grades of Junior, Intermediate, Senior and Open, and a unique Blades v Machines challenge.

It will be followed by the Murchison A and P Show on February 17, the Kaikoura A and P Show on February 24 the Amuri show on March 2, and the Flaxbourne A and P Show on March 24.

RESULTS from the Tapawera Shears at Tapawera on Saturday, January 27, 2024:

Open final (20 sheep): Floyd Haare (Takaka) 20min 34.37sec, 69.47pts, 1; Duncan Higgins (Havelock/Blenheim) 22min 39.09sec, 78.1pts, 2; Nick Nalder (Takaka) 22min 37.79sec, 79.54pts, 3; Chris Jones (Blenheim) 25min 17.97sec, 85.1pts, 4.

Open Plate (10 sheep): Robert Herbert (Kaikoura) 12min 29.71sec, 48.69pts, 1; Richard Sampey (Blenheim) 13min 17.38sec, 52.47pts, 2; Baden Barker (Tapawera) 14min 19.06sec, 52.95pts, 3; Kerry Irvine (Tapawera) 14min 58.82sec, 55.94pts, 4.

Senior final (10 sheep): Timo Hicks (Tapawera) 13min 29.16sec, 50.06pts, 1; Scott McKay (Christchurch) 15min 43.16sec, 60.56pts, 2; Hamish Barker (Tapawera) 14min 56.28sec, 62.11pts, 3.

Intermediate final (4 sheep): Kimberly MacLean (Richmond) 9min 42.4sec, 34.62pts, 1; Sam Hodgkinson (Tapawera) 8min 48.16sec, 35.16pts, 2; Pam Irvine (Tapawera) 10min 57.16sec, 45.11pts, 3;Ryan Hodgkinson (Tapawera) 10min 45.03sec, 45.25pts, 4.

Junior final (3 sheep): Emma Hodgkinson (Tapawera) 7min 30.62sec, 30.86pts, 1; Bryce Win (Dovedale) 6min 31.75sec, 35.25pts, 2; Sam MacLean (Richmond) 8min 45.54sec, 40.28pts, 3.

Clean Shear (2 sheep): Floyd Haare (Takaka) 8pts, 1; Baden Barker (Tapawera) 10pts, 2; Nick Nalder (Takaka) 11.5pts, 3.

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