Masterton’s Jills Angus Burney, left, with She Shears director Jack Nicol, and Waikato shearer Emily Welch at the film’s premiere at Regent 3 Cinemas last night. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


A green carpet film premier in Masterton on Wednesday night bridged the gap between urban and rural with sheep, albeit fake, and shearers dressed up to the nines.

She Shears is a feature-length documentary which follows five of New Zealand’s leading female sheep shearers, including Masterton-based champion shearer Jills Angus Burney.

Much of the footage was filmed at The Golden Shears in Masterton last year.

Director Jack Nicol, 32, from Auckland, admits he initially had no clue about the sport, but wanted to pursue a project that was uniquely Kiwi.

Angus Burney said the film showed just how far the male-dominated sport had come.

“When I began shearing in the 1980s there were like three women and 15,000 men doing it in New Zealand.”

Emily Welch, another star of the film from north Waikato, was taught to shear by her father.

The mother-of-four said the film told an important story, highlighting the “softer side” to what was widely considered a “rough job”.

“It bridges the urban and rural divide by shedding light on the industry.”

The film has won acclaim on the New Zealand International Film Festival circuit and is being released nationwide today. It will be shown in 70 cinemas, making it one of the widest releases for a Kiwi film this year.