More than a third of shearing competitions now cancelled
The Southland Shears and the Dannevirke Shears have joined the list of cancellations now affecting more than a third of the competitions on the 2021-2022 Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar.
Committees from the shows made the decisions at meetings on Tuesday, bringing to at least 20 the number of competitions that have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 crisis.
There were 59 on the calendar at the start of the season, and those cancelled include 11 which had been scheduled for the New Year, including glamour event the Golden Shears.
The Southland Shears, incorporating the New Zealand Crossbred Lambs Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, were to have been held at Winton Racecourse on January 15, and the Dannevirke competition was to have been held on February 4.
Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan acknowledged the testing times for organisers who have had to consider how late in the planning they can go before making the ultimate decision (usually the point at which pre-competition costs start accruing), issues of whether they will have enough people on the day based on regulations for the staging of events, the unique natures of their facilities, and the consequences of having to cancel in the last days or even on the day of the event.
It also includes whether they can go ahead with reduced support, extra costs and in a reduced format, which may be the case particularly in attempts to stage shearing sports where A and P shows of which they are part have been downsized to competitor-only events or cancelled.
“Ultimately it’s all about safety, and all of the committees are desperate to keep their competitions going for the benefit of the competitors, and the sponsors and supporters – if they can,” he said. “For some there are no options, and all around it is stressing and all are disappointed when they have to call off their events.”
The PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit is still on, with qualifying rounds at Alexandra, Waimate and Christchurch completed in October-November, and the last two rounds at Marton and Pahiatua still programmed for February.
Its committee is considering options on where to stage the semi-finals and final, which were to have been at the Golden Shears.
The stresses on the committees was highlighted by Southland Shears chairman Mike Hogan, whose show runs just a day after Lumsden’s Northern Southland Community Shears and national longwool championships, which are still scheduled to go ahead on January 14.
Dannevirke shearing committee convenor Jane Leogreen said the Southern Hawke’s Bay event’s cancellation was particularly disappointing as it was a part of a three-day Waitangi Day Weekend lower grades shearing and woolhandling circuit which got off to a successful start last year.
The Rangitikei Shearing Sports in Marton the next day (February 5) and the Aria Waitangi Day Sports are among those still going ahead.
Seven competitions were held without general public admission in the South Island, but no competitions have yet been held in the North Island, where Horowhenua show organisers are still hoping to run their shearing-only event on January 23 in Levin.
Competitions that are still on in January:
January 8 (Sat): Peninsula Duvauchelle Shears (shearing only), at Duvauchelle.
January 14 (Fri): Northern Southland Community Shears (shearing, woolhanding), at Lumsden.
January 22 (Sat): Tapawera Shears (shearing only), at Tapawera.
January 23 (Sun): Horowhenua A, P and I Show (shearing only), at Levin.
January 30 (Sun): Geyserland Agrodome Shears Rotorua (shearing, woolhandling), at Ngongotaha.
Competitions so far cancelled in the New Year are: Kaikohe, Wairoa, Golden Bay, Winton, Taihape, Dannevirke, North Kaipara, Northern Wairoa, Murchison, Taumarunui, and Golden Shears.