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Flynn’s Wairarapa’s good shepherd

Flynn Wilkinson has been named the 2020 Wairarapa Shepherd of the Year. He said his favourite part of the job was working with his dogs. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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For this year’s Wairarapa Shepherd of the Year Flynn Wilkinson, living and working on a farm is all he’s ever known.

Flynn Wilkinson

The 20-year-old grew up in Wairarapa and worked on several farms across the region before settling at Bush Gully Station, an 1800-hectare sheep and beef property near Hinakura, one year ago.

“I grew up around that area,” he said.

“I’ve never lived in town. It’s all I’ve ever known and wanted to do.”

Last Friday, he was named the 2020 Wairarapa Shepherd of the Year in a live video by Palliser Ridge’s Kurt Portas via Facebook.

Along with three other finalists, Wilkinson had been judged on practical modules which included sheep, beef, fencing, homekill, shearing, and an interview.

“I was pretty rapt,” he said. “It was a good end to the week.”

It hasn’t always beeneasy for Wilkinson.

In late 2018, he broke his back in several places after a quadbike accident.

He was back on the farm as soon as he could though.

These days, he’s kept busy with shifting stock, a bit of fencing and other general shepherding jobs.

“I enjoy dog work most. I’ve got a team of seven.”

He said the competition was a good way to meet new people and lamented the loss of the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre.

“If you are not from a farm background, Taratahi was a great place to learn that way.”

His advice to others was to find somewhere to get skilled up and give things a go.

“Why not? See what happens,” he said.

Wilkinson took home a $1000 cheque, a shearing handpiece, and other farm accessories.

Joshua White from Spring Valley in Masterton was recognised as the merit winner.

Joost Paans and Kate Robinson were the two other finalists.

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