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Golden Shears event is region’s golden goose

Crowds filled the War Memorial Stadium in Masterton to watch Golden Shears events last week. PHOTO/PETE NIKOLAISON

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Every year, the Golden Shears brings thousands of visitors to the region and millions of dollars to the Wairarapa economy, and the 60th anniversary proved no different.

Destination Wairarapa general manager Anna Nielson described the multi-day Masterton event as a “windfall” for the local economy.

“[It provides] an annual injection of spending during the event and also other associated economic gains resulting from the international exposure that the event brings.”

Infometrics data from 2016 showed the Golden Shears turned over $2.7 million, largely through accommodation, hospitality, and retail.

“We would anticipate this figure to be much higher this year given the spike in interest with it being the 60th anniversary,” she said.

Entries this year were well up on previous years, ranging from 450 to 470 compared with an average of 350 entrants in previous years.

The event also draws in several high-profile politicians with National leader Simon Bridges making an appearance on Friday night and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived on Saturday.

Those in attendance come from near and far, and as of midday Tuesday, there were only two rooms available in Masterton, Destination Wairarapa said.

Mark Wellington, who owns the Highwayman Motel in Masterton, said the Golden Shears was brilliant for Wairarapa.

The motel can sleep up to 70 people but was already at capacity and he said they had been turning people away for the past two weeks.

“Last weekend we were full. This weekend we’re full and next weekend we will be too.”

He said it had been like that for the first week of March every year for the past six years he had owned the accommodation provider.

The Highwayman Motel was also the stay of choice for some of shearing’s biggest names, including Roland Smith and Digger Balme, who have been staying with them for 15 years.

“They like staying here. I look after them,” Wellington said.

“When they settle up and pay, they book in for the next year.”

Booking well in advance was also common at Masterton’s Mawley Holiday Park, which offers a mix of self-contained units, cabins, powered and unpowered sites.

General manager Les Duncan said all the cabins had been booked out since November for the event.

“This is one of our busiest weekends.

“I’ve heard most places are full. It brings a lot of money for accommodation providers.”

With the Martinborough Fair also on Saturday, South Wairarapa accommodation and hospitality providers expected increased numbers.

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