6 Mar 2020

The Golden Shears: Woolly sheep bring sheer excitement to competitors

7:35 am on 6 March 2020

The country's best shearers are gearing up for a busy day of finals today at The Golden Shears in Masterton.

Shearing sheep.

Photo: 123rf

Destiny Paikea, of Ngāti Whātua descent, has qualified for the Junior Shearing Final.

Paikea comes from a long line of shearers and grew up in the West Otago as a wool handler.

She eventually began competing in shearing competitions two years ago.

She said focusing on the job at hand on stage was vital.

"It takes a lot of mind prep work to try and block everyone out," she said.

"I just worry about my own job and not worry about anything else, just get in my own zone."

She said the heats were intense.

"For the heats we got two sheep to shear. You get penalty points for time, every 20 seconds you get a point.

"You can shear the two sheep in half an hour if you want to but the best thing is to keep the time down and make sure you're not making any second cuts or you're not cutting the wool again, make sure that the sheep is presented nicely so that when it goes to be judged out the back you get good low points."

The hardest part of the job, she said, was keeping composed and keeping hold of the sheep.

"You can get some stroppy sheep that are gonna kick you to bits and things like that, but you've just got to be able to keep your cool and try and put it in a position where its comfortable.

"There's a lot of things that come into play when you're shearing a sheep but that's the biggest thing for me, is holding the sheep and making sure I'm relaxed so the sheep is relaxed as well."

She said being on stage took shearing to another level.

"It's so weird because once you get up there it's like tunnel vision, it's like you're at work again," she said.

"But it's hard because your heart's pumping, you've got adrenaline running through your veins so you're just trying to breathe and keep calm, because your nerves can definitely get you, but you just try your hardest for it not to."

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