Hawke's Bay Today
Blade shearers to compete
Two of New Zealand’s top blade 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 that’s believed to have been one of the first in the world.
The contest was held on January 21, 1868, predating what was long 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, with the event won by James Walker, a shepherd to chief Te Hapuku. The runner-up was Inia Whangataua, of Takapau, third was Nguha, of Patangata, and fourth Hori Tawhai, of Waipaoa (Waipawa).
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.