Shear­ing grabs world at­ten­tion

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

The me­dia re­sponse to sheep shear­ing’s po­ten­tial as a Com­mon­wealth Games demon­stra­tion sport, if not the Olympics, has gone in­ter­na­tional.

‘‘Shear­ing as a demon­stra­tion sport has gone vi­ral,’’ Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Meat and Fi­bre chair­woman Jeanette Maxwell said.

‘‘It has been in Aus­tralian me­dia, me­dia from the UK. I’ve had in­ter­views with BBC re­gional sta­tions but am be­ing in­ter­viewed by Skype for BBC One. Be­ing at the outer reaches of wire­less broad­band, I just hope the weather plays ball.

‘‘I’ve also checked Google News and shear­ing sport has gen­er­ated at least 262 news items. From ESPN and a Washington Post blog to Bri­tain’s Daily Telegraph, you can say it has grabbed imag­i­na­tions the world over. Some of it may drip with sar­casm but it’s giv­ing us the chance to tell peo­ple over­seas that sheep don’t die for their wool. Un­be­liev­able as it may sound to Kiwi ears, some peo­ple over­seas be­lieve wool is like fur. By talk­ing about shear­ing, shear­ing sports and farm­ing in New Zealand, we can help to clear a big mis­con­cep­tion. It could help to get more peo­ple into wool and New Zealand wool es­pe­cially.

‘‘While wool is nat­u­ral, re­new­able and com­pletely sus­tain­able, it needs more and per­haps sport pro­vides that magic.

‘‘Our shear­ing ath­letes, men and women alike, are in peak phys­i­cal con­di­tion. When peo­ple wear New Zealand wool it has come from the work of peo­ple like Ivan Scott and Kerri-jo Te Huia. We can also add Stacey Te Huia and Sam Welch. They broke a 16-year world record for two-stand nine­hour ewe-shear­ing. They shore 1341 big un­wieldy ewes over nine hours, or well over two ewes ev­ery sin­gle minute.

‘‘This hand-crafted hu­man di­men­sion is what makes wool unique. Its price point isn’t much dif­fer­ent from oil-based ar­ti­fi­cial fi­bres but it has an in­her­ent crafts­man­ship and skill about it. This is some­thing oil­based fi­bres can­not match. It’s about putting the magic into wool and our shear­ing ath­letes are an ace in that re­spect.

‘‘This will take time but given the big eight sheep coun­ties are China, Aus­tralia, In­dia, Iran, Su­dan, New Zealand, Nige­ria and the United King­dom, shear­ing is more global than many peo­ple think,’’ Mrs Maxwell said.

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