Top shear­ers for A&P show

CHB Mail - - Focus -

Two of New Zealand’s top blades shear­ers are ex­pected to be at the Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay A&P Show this week to mark 150 years since a Waipuku­rau shear­ing com­pe­ti­tion be­lieved to have been one of the first in the world.

The con­test was held on Jan­uary 21, 1868, pre-dat­ing what had long been thought to have been the first shear­ing com­pe­ti­tion in New Zealand, at the Can­ter­bury show in 1873.

Shear­ing Sports New Zealand says it has been un­able to find any record of any ear­lier shear­ing con­test any­where in the World, al­though a re­port on Fe­bru­ary 1, 1868, in the Hawke’s Bay Her­ald, re­ports the con­test as be­ing “the first shear­ing match in the in­land district”.

It was held on the farm of “the Hon H R Rus­sell”, ef­fec­tively the founder of Waipuku­rau af­ter whom the show venue — Rus­sell Park — is named. It was shorn on Rus­sell’s Sax­ony meri­nos, thought to have been landed in New Zealand in Wellington and walked up the coast to Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay.

The Ma¯ori in­flu­ence in shear­ing was high­lighted in those early days, with the event won by James Walker, a shep­herd to chief Te Ha¯puku. The run­ner-up was Inia Whangataua, of Taka­pau, third was Nguha, of Patan­gata, and fourth Hori Tawhai, of Waipaoa (Waipawa).

Most blade shear­ing in New Zealand is now done in Can­ter­bury, from where 2017 World cham­pi­onships run­ner-up Tony Dobbs, of Fair­lie, and 2019 cham­pi­onships team­mate Al­lan Old­field, of Geral­dine, are ex­pected to travel to Waipuku­rau to shear in a com­mem­o­ra­tive match.

CHB show shear­ing or­gan­iser and new CHB A&P As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent David Poul­ton says the show is ex­cited to be able to mark the mile­stone, on the Satur­day and last day of the Novem­ber 8-10 show, which marked its own cen­te­nary in 2011.

Hawke’s Bay was also the scene of what is thought to have been the first ma­chine shear­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the world, at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Show in 1902, won by Rim­i­tiriu “The Great” Rai­ha­nia.

Tony Dobbs, blade shearer, taken in the Old Er­rowan­bang Wool­shed near Bathurst in NSW in Novem­ber 2014.

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