A new doc­u­men­tary, She Shears, goes in­side the wool­shed (left).

North & South - - North & South -

Au­then­tic­ity im­bues ev­ery great doc­u­men­tary, and you can al­most smell the greasy wool and sweat as She Shears pulls you into the world of com­pet­i­tive shear­ing. The dif­fer­ence is this 85- minute doco fol­lows five women shear­ers – world record- hold­ers Emily Welch (648 lambs in nine hours) and Jills An­gus Bur­ney, along with Hazel Wood, Cather­ine Mul­looly and Pa­gan Ka­rau­ria.

There’s no women’s sec­tion at the Golden Shears; the women com­pete along­side the men, wran­gling 60kg sheep with a com­bi­na­tion of tech­ni­cal skills and en­vi­able strength. What they all share, as vet­eran An­gus Bur­ney puts it, is “sheep shit for brains”: shear­ing is a call­ing, not a job. Not that An­gus Bur­ney is an in­tel­lec­tual slouch; fol­low­ing an in­jury, she whipped through a law de­gree and now works as a bar­ris­ter when she’s not in the shear­ing shed.

She Shears, which has just opened in cine­mas na­tion­wide, is clas­sic Kiwi film­mak­ing. Asked how he built rap­port on the set, di­rec­tor Jack Ni­col said he made ba­con- and- egg pies most days for cast and crew lunch. “It kept costs down, too.” VIR­GINIA LAR­SON

Top: Cather­ine Mul­looly, one of the stars in a new doc­u­men­tary, She Shears. Above: Hazel Wood in a race against the clock.

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