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Golden shears has region buzzing

The unrivalled Golden Shears legacy lives on to bring the sweat, sheep, and shearers back to Masterton this week.

There are more than 350 competitors – both national and international – who will compete either in the World Premier Shearing or Wool Handling Championship for three days and nights at the War Memorial Stadium.

Golden Shears President Trish Stevens said it was a huge annual event that brought an enormous number of visitors into Wairarapa.

She said the event takes a total of 17,000 man-hours to organise and they start planning as soon as the previous event is finished.

Currently, 357 people have signed up to compete, including 111 wool handlers and 23 pressers. About 3500 sheep will be shorn.

Golden Shears is estimated to bring more than 3,500 spectators, and accommodation is at a premium.

Destination Wairarapa’s Barb Hyde said the event does an “incredible job” to attract people from around the country to the region.

“The Golden Shears weekend is one of the busiest of the year with competitors and their families flocking to Wairarapa,” she said.

“Accommodation, particularly in Masterton, is very heavily booked.”

In Masterton, there are five accommodation places with rooms available. About 90 per cent of places have no vacancies between February 29 and March 2. There are 23 places in Wairarapa that are fully booked out.

Gateway Motor Inn Manager and businesswoman Sonu Dhaliwal said that their hotels and properties across Masterton were booked out on these dates.

“It is good for local businesses and helps to make Masterton a more happening place,” she said.

Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell called Golden Shears an iconic global attraction and the number one shearing event, apart from Shears World Champions.

“Before I arrived in Masterton more than 40 years ago, all I knew about the place was that it was the home of Golden Shears,” he said.

“The exceptional standard of the competitors means that not only does it have strong support from the shearing and farming community spectator-wise, but also from the ordinary man [or woman] in the street.”

Caffell said it was difficult to measure the economic impact Golden Shears had on Masterton or Wairarapa but said it undoubtedly had significant benefits.

Shearing Sports New Zealand Doug Laing said there has been an increase in competition numbers recently, particularly in the Central North Island, with their highest entries for several years.

He said competitions had more than 200 shearers and wool handler entries in several North Island events, but two South Island events saw lower numbers.

Laing said this included many overseas competitors featuring in the results who are staying around for Golden Shears.

“The excitement has been increased by the profile shearing has had, from the tally records over the summer, although not all of the record breakers are regular competition shearers,” he said.

“The prospects for the Open Shearing Final have gotten people drooling a bit, and more of that will unfold over the next few days.”

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