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6 October 2021

Where have all the bladies gone

Bladeshearing veteran Tony Dobbs, pictured representing New Zealand at Waimate in 2019. Having contemplated retirement when the board was last year the scene of his 100th win he's back this week to stick with the faith amid declining numbers of shearers with clippers.

Where have all the bladies gone ?


Shearing competition organisers have been wondering where have all the bladies gone as they struggle to make up the numbers for the first bladeshearing competition of the new New Zealand season this week.

While almost 140 have entered machine shearing and woolhandling at the Waimate Shears’ New Zealand Spring championships on Friday and Saturday, the Open Blades had by Monday night attracted just the six needed for a straight final.

There’s also an Intermediate Blades event which had four entries, and championships society president Warren White was hoping for a few “latecomers” and is planning a women’s match, while entries for other events had to be closed-off because of the pandemic Level 2 limit on public attendance and also so that it was known how many sheep would need to be prepared.

Among the blades entries Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie and who had been contemplating retirement amid a “flabbergasting” standing ovation at Waimate 12 months ago as he became the first, and possibly last, blade shearer to notch-up 100 wins, including 30 at Waimate where he first competed in 1979 and where bladeshearing has been a feature every year since the Shears were first held in 1968.

He shore one more competition a few weeks later, being beaten by just 0.09pts, by New Zealand teammate and 2019 World champion Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, in the Canterbury Shears’ Golden Blades final.

Amid a battle for his health including more than one stint in hospital, ending 30 years of farming and keeping-on with a bit of farm maintenance and some digger-driving he shore just once more in the woolshed about Christmas last year.

That was until, having accepted the challenge to compete at Waimate because he would already be there as a competition judge, he shore six merinos for a neighbour on Monday, sating later: “That’s my practice.”

But missing will be Oldfield, with whom he won the World teams title in 2019 and who in June moved to the North Island, becoming possibly the only blades shearer based in the Wellington area in more than a century.

He’s living in Lower Hutt and keeps in trim travelling over the Remutaka Hill for machine shearing with Wairarapa contractors Paerata and Cushla Abraham when needed, but is also now targeting the small lifestyle block numbers on the rural fringes of the Wellington area – some of it with the novelty of doing it with the clippers.

“Machine shearing is plenty of fitness and really just shearing a couple on the blades each day on a show style is better than commercial blade shearing as competition practice,” he said. “Most farmers don’t have an issue with me bladeshearing a few for practice,” he said.

As for the lifestyle block shearing he said: “Normally it’s easier to blade shear than run power out to the yards.”

Still with an eye on defending the World title in Scotland in 2023, Oldfield said he couldn’t at present justify travelling to the shows on the blades circuit, which are all in the South Island, but he plans to defend the Golden Blades title next month, and take in some competitions in the south in the new year.

Worrying that the craft may lose some shows, he thinks about what can be done to save them, but said: “I think we are more likely to get more competition shearers out of hobby blade shearers than commercial in the future, especially as the amount of commercial blade shearing decreases. I don’t know how much we can do otherwise to get shearers to compete.”  

Another reversing a decision not compete this year is Noel Handley, of Rangiora, who shore in World championships finals in 1996, 1998 and 2000, and who has only missed shearing at Waimate twice since 1980.

“I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing,” he said after his late decision.

The Waimate Shears is the second show of the new Shearing Sports New Zealand, following the New Zealand Merino Shears in Alexandra last Friday and Saturday, but which did not include bladeshearing.

As well as being competitor-only, other Level 2 conditions will be in place, including contact tracing, hand-sanitising, mask-wearing and social distancing.

It will be an early start on Friday with the national Winter Comb Senior and Open heats, from 7am (check-in at 6.30am), followed by Open, Senior and Junior woolhandling heats, all on merino sheep, finals, and the finals of the South Island woolhandling circuits.

A Speedshear and woolhandlers Quick Throw will be held from 6.30pm on Friday, and the Spring Shears shearing championships on crossbred longwool will be held on Saturday starting with Novice check-in and heats from 7.30am, followed by Junior, Intermediate, Senior and Open heats and the Blades events.

Doug Laing,
Media Officer
Shearing Sports New Zealand
mobile 0274-690644, home (64) 06-8436656


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Earlier this year the company implemented an auctioneers strategy, which helps identify and train promising auctioneers with a bright future. Several of the company’s best will have the opportunity to take on elite young auctioneers from other companies, testing their skills and showing their ability in a contest for professionals under the age of 30.

Conducting auctions is an essential part of PGG Wrightson’s identity, and has always been a key role in the rural economy. Despite the potential that online platforms like bidr offer, the livestock auction will continue to be central to our business.

We look forward to seeing how some of our most promising up and comers perform on the national stage.

Callum Stewart, PGG Wrightson Livestock National Genetics Manager 

Results from the Waimate Spring Shears

09 October 2021

Waimate Shears’ New Zealand Spring Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Waimate on Saturday on October 8-9, 2021

Open final (16 sheep): Leon Samuels (Invercargill) 16min 15.1sec, 56.3175pts, 1; Casey Bailey (Riverton) 16min 48.94sec, 57.0095pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 17min 12.6sec, 58.005pts, 3; Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 15min 39.15sec, 58.395pts, 4; Hugh De Lacy (Parnassus) 16min 20.5sec, 66.2125pts, 5; Tama Niania (Gisborne) 6.


Open Novice (10 sheep): Matene Mason (Masterton) 11min 55.04sec, 40.252pts, 1; Lionel Taumata (Gore) 12min 17.57sec, 41.0785pts, 2; David Gordon (Masterton) 10min 14.42sec, 41.521pts, 3; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 9min 25.03sec, 42.6515pts, 4; Corey Smith (Waimate) 11min 37.09sec, 48.5545pts, 5; Alex Smith (Rakaia) 14min 56.19sec, 48.9095pts, 6.


Senior final (8 sheep): Braydon Clifford (Waikaka) 10min 37.09sec, 38.2295pts, 1; Taare Edwards (Ashburton) 12min 3.72sec, 42.436pts, 2; Tyson Crown (Mataura) 11min 47.62sec, 43.131pts, 3; Josef Winders (Rotorua) 10min 36.27sec, 43.8135pts, 4; Chris Malcolm (Winton) 11min 24.32sec, 44.716pts, 5; Jason White (Waimate) 12min 28.43sec, 46.1715pts, 6.


Intermediate final (5 sheep): Reuben King (Rangiora) 9min 12.71sec, 36.6355pts, 1; Blake Crooks (Timaru) 9min 4.97sec, 37.4485pts, 2; Chase Rattray (Ashburton) 9min 39.66sec, 40.783pts, 3; Jordan White (Balclutha) 9min 7.73sec, 43.7865pts, 4; James Wilson (Winton) 8min 20.26sec, 44.413pts, 5; Tes Paewai (Wales) 9min 39.19sec, 47.3595pts, 6.


Junior final (3 sheep): Jack Pringle (Balclutha) 6min 41.97sec, 26.4318pts, 1; Josh Devane (Taihape) 6min 38.78sec, 26.6057pts, 2; Lachie Crafar (Rangiwahia) 8min 0.16sec, 31.31453pts, 3; Mark Calder (Balclutha) 6min 37.5sec, 32.5417pts, 4; Emma Martin (Gore) 8min 38.67sec, 39.6002pts, 5; Tyrell Rakete-Miller (Invercargill) 6min 25.25sec, 49.2625pts, 6.


Novice (1 sheep): Molly Clayton (Waimate) 4min 17.85sec, 23.879pts, 1; Jess-Rose Toa (Ashburton) 5min 17.7sec, 39.885pts, 2; Dre Roberts (Mataura) 4min 3.62sec, 41.181pts, 3; Toni Ditmer (Rangiora) 5min 20.06sec, 57.003pts, 4; Shorty (Gisborne) 3min 27.34sec, 80.367pts, 5.


Women (2 sheep): Sarah Hewson (Blenheim) 3min 46.97sec, 17.3485pts, 1; Tes Paewai (Wales) 3min 52.59sec, 19.1295pts, 2; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 4min 1.78sec, 21.089pts, 3; Emily Te Kapa (Scotland) 4min 18.79sec, 24.9395pts, 4; Jills Angus Burney (Masterton) 3min 37.41sec, 25.8705pts, 5; Emma Martin (Gore) 6min 26sec, 53.55pts, 6.   

Open blades (4 sheep): Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 13min 52.65sec, 51.6325pts, 1; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 15min 54.94sec, 57.747pts, 2; Noel Handley (Rangiora) 12min 5.6sec, 58.28pts, 3; Allan

Butcher (Waimate) 17min 55.45sec, 69.5225pts, 4; Jordan White (Balclutha) 18min 31.94sec, 82.597pts, 5.


Intermediate blades (2 sheep): Aku Waihape (Pleasant Point) 8min 45.31sec, 43.7655pts, 1; Wendy Parsons (-) 8min 57.13sec, 51.3565pts, 2; Shaun Burgess (Rakaia) 12min 19.67sec, 58.4835pts, 3; Evelyn McGregor-Koch (Glenorchy) 11min 34.93sec, 63.2465pts, 4; Jills Angus Burney (Masterton) 14min 27.01sec, 64.8505pts, 5; Ruby Stone (Waimate) 12min 6.65sec, 71.3325pts, 6.


Women’s Invitation Blades: Wendy Parsons (-) 4min 19.37sec, 33.9685pts, 1; Jills Angus Burney (Masterton) 8min 13.75sec, 54.6875pts, 2; Evelyn McGregor-Koch (Glenorchy) 5min 44.13sec, 71.2065pts, 3; Ruby Stone (Waimate) 5min 5.55sec, 72.2775pts, 4.  


New Zealand Winter Comb Shearing Championships: 

Open final (10 sheep): Troy Pyper (Cheviot) 19min 13.78sec, 75.589pts, 1; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 21min 19.11sec, 76.6555pts, 2; Stacey Te Huia (Alexandra) 19min 42sec, 80.5pts, 3; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 20min 55.34sec, 85.867pts, 4; Jocky O’Neill (Alexandra) 21min 21.39sec, 91.7695pts, 5; Ant Frew (Pleasant Point) 21min 17.87sec, 97.0935pts, 6.


Senior final (5 sheep): Russell Ratima (Aria) 12min 54.21sec, 67.1105pts, 1; Alex Clapham (Yorkshire, England) 15min 15.77sec, 79.7885pts, 2; Hohepa Te Rata-Taituha (Taumarunui) 11min 55.49sec, 85.5745pts, 3; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 16min 34.57sec, 87.9285pts, 4; Taare Edwards (Ashburton) 14min 26.46sec, 90.323pts, 5; Tyson Crown (Mataura) 15min 22.31sec, 107.3155pts, 6.




Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 92.70pts, 1; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 124.14pts, 2; Tia Potae (Milton) 126.07pts, 3; Cheri Peterson (Milton) 146.412pts, 4.


Senior final: Amber Poihipi (Ohai) 98.57pts, 1; Heaven Little (Alexandra) 113.764pts, 2; Charlotte Stuart (Omarama) 125.3pts, 3; Destiny Paikea (Heriot) 147.66pts, 4.   


Junior final: Maraea Iwikau (Taumarunui) 95.99pts, 1; Tatuana Keefe (Raupunga) 117.06pts, 2; Lea Brabant (Germany) 132.69pts, 3; Jess-Rose Toa (Ashburton) 143.19pts, 4.


South Island Woolhandling Circuit:

Open final: Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 40.314pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 67.218pts, 2; Cany Hiri (Mataura) 72.988pts, 3; Kelly McDonald (Lake Hawea) 88.828pts, 4.


Senior final: Amber Poihipi (Ohai) 60.402pts, 1; Sarah Davis (Rerewhakaaitu) 62.494pts, 2; Heaven Little (Alexandra) 80.034pts, 3.


Junior final: Emma Martin (Gore) 70.294pts, 1; Charis Morrell (Alexandra) 70.85pts, 2; Brittany Kellet (Ashburton) 76.944pts, 3; Ani Mason (Prebbleton) 90.72pts, 4.   

It ain't easy to beat a southern man!

09 October 2021

The mighty southern men of shearing stepped-up yet again to take the first three placings in the New Zealand Spring Shears Open crossbred fullwool shearing championship final in Waimate on Saturday.

The six-man final over 16 sheep each was won by Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, beating surprise runner-up Casey Bailey, of Riverton, by less than seven-tenths of a point, with almost a point back to third placegetter, Invercargill shearer and 10-times event winner Nathan Stratford, who a week earlier in Alexandra won the season-opening New Zealand Merino Shears Open title for a fifth time.  Waikaka shearer Braydon Clifford added to the success by winning the Senior final, while on the opening day of the championships on Friday former Invercargill shearer Troy Pyper, now based in North Canterbury, successfully defended the New Zealand Winter-comb title on Merinos.

It wasn’t just the blokes flying the flag for the south. Former Golden Shears Senior woolhandling champion Amber Poihipi, of Ohai, also in Southland, claimed a double triumph with wins in Spring Shears and South Island Woolhandling Circuit Senior finals on Friday, confirming she will graduate to Open class by next season.  

It was Pyper who made the pace in Saturday’s Spring Shears Open shearing final, in which he was the only shearer to average under a minute a sheep and finished in 15min 39.15sec.
Samuels was next 35 seconds later but was able to pull-back the time-points deficit with the best points for the board job, and third-best in the pens.

It was his first win in the event in which he was third in both 2019 and 2020, and maintained the form which produced wins in both national all-breeds circuit finals in Te Kuiti last April.  It was a disaster first South Island final for Gisborne shearer Tama Nia.  Nia who was making good progress midway through the showdown when a sheep kicked the handpiece into his face, causing a cut requiring several stitches and forcing his withdrawal from the race.

The heats on Saturday constituted the second round of the new season’s PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit in which both Stratford and Samuels are near certain finals qualifiers after just two of the five qualifying rounds.  Fairlie’s Tony Dobbs won the Open Bladeshearing title, returning to the stage where he last year reached the unprecedented milestone of 100 bladeshearing winslast year he completed a century of wins.  There was a big upset in the Senior winter-comb final on Friday, with winner Russell Ratima, from Aria in the central North Island, and Alex Clapham, from Yorkshire, England, having almost no competition history in New Zealand between them.  Ratima had failed to make it past the Senior heats in Alexandra the previous weekend but won on Friday by a wide margin of more than 12pts.  He and Clapham graduated from the bottom half of the 12 semi-final qualifiers at Waimate and were the last two into the six-man final amid the exit of Alexandra winner Scott Cameron, who had been the top qualifier in the heats.

In New Zealand about two years ago and living in Roxburgh, Clapham confirmed it had been his first competition downunder and described it as part of “living the dream out here in New Zealand.” 
Masterton’s Matene Mason won the Open Novice shearing final, for Open-class shearers who have otherwise not won an Open title, North Canterbury shearer 2020-2021 No-1 ranked junior Reuben King won his first Intermediate shear title, and the Junior final was won by Jack Pringle, of Balclutha.

Joel Henare, of Gisborne, added the Open woolhandling title to that he won at Alexandra a week earlier, while Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, won the South Island Open woolhandling circuit final.
Maraea Iwikau, of Taumarunui, won the Spring Shears Junior woolhandling title, and the junior circuit fibal was won by Emma Martin, of Gore. 

It was a busy two days, with 150 competitors and 18 events decided in the conditions of the Covid-19 Delta Alert.


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