15 Dec 2023

Southland cousins smash world shearing record

From Checkpoint, 5:50 pm on 15 December 2023

Last Friday, Gore cousins Megan Whitehead and Hannah McCall shore 1,293 lambs in 8 hours - a new world record for a female shearing duo.

Inside a "chocka" woolshed at Grant Bros farm, locals were riveted by the pair's speed and skill, farmer Cameron Grant tells Lisa Owen.

"No one got out of the seats at afternoon smoko and the shed was squeezed full."

Cousins Megan Whitehead and Hannah McColl with their female shearing duo World Record

Cousins Megan Whitehead and Hannah McColl with their female shearing duo World Record Photo: Shearing Sports New Zealand

Southland farmer Cameron Grant

Southland farmer Cameron Grant Photo: Diane Bishop / Stuff

The previous world record of 903 sheep shorn in 8 hours was set by a King Country mother-and-daughter team in 2009.

For two people to shear 1,293 sheep in a day "you need a pretty big ticker", Grant says.

"[Whitehead and McCall] have trained and been on diets. probably no sugar and definitely no alcohol. They've put a huge effort into this … These girls shear all day and then theyre in the gym at night, running."

Each of the 12,93 sheep had to be shorn to a very high standard, he says.

"If they are shearing too rough, they get warnings, they get a sheep taken off them. And if they cut one too badly they'll get a reject sheep and that's deducted. They're only allowed five reject sheep for the day and if they go over that the record will be stopped."

Although Whitehead and McCall are "pretty fit", Grant says, they were also "pretty exhausted" after their record-breaking performance.

"They're pretty worn out, they're pretty sweaty. And they're having a wee bit of time to themselves at the moment."

"They both got to a beer straight after so I imagine it's tasting pretty good for them after not drinking in the last six, eight months."


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With a pair of special scissors, the 23-year-old can shear 100 sheep a day.

She Shears: a documentary about New Zealand's shearing women

The director of a film about five blade-wielding, wool-handling Kiwi women chats to Kathryn Ryan.