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Shear passion in the air

Elijah Paku from Wairarapa competing in the wool pressing. PHOTOS/EMMA BROWN Below: Australian shearer Greg Drew competing in the Wairarapa Helicopter and Stihl Shop Masterton Evergreens shearing heats [Grade 1].

EMMA BROWN
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It was the second day of the Golden Shears on Thursday, and passion for the sport was in the air.

Another day of competitions had not only local and national but also international competitors testing their skills.

Australian shearer Greg Drew competing in the Wairarapa Helicopter and Stihl Shop Masterton Evergreens shearing heats [Grade 1].
Greg Drew, 55, from Australia, was back again after being the Australian judge at last year’s competition.

Drew said being the Australian judge in 2019 was a very proud moment and a highlight of his career.

As a judge, he said he didn’t get to experience much of the competition so he decided to come back this year and compete.

He said there was a lot of camaraderie behind the scenes from those taking part.

“It is a culmination of friends all loving the same sport.”

In the shed, it was all about the tally, but at the competition, it was about the quality and tally, he said.

Drew started shearing at the age of 17, and now at 55, he was still enjoying it.

He didn’t grow up with shearing in his family but now both his sons shear.

He told them they could do whatever they wanted, not needing to follow in his footsteps, but he was glad that they both learned the skill.

Now if they ever fell on hard times and needed some money, they could work in the sheds and had the knowledge to do so, he said.

The timing of the Golden Shears and trip was extra special for Drew and his wife whom he married 30 years ago next week.

The first day of competition on Wednesday also marked 30 years from his first competition.

“A double whammy.”

He said they were going to spend an extra 10 days travelling once the competition was over.

Drew said it was great to see “all these young blokes look at us old buggers shearing”.

He hoped it was as good for them as time went on as it was for them today.

Masterton’s 23-year-old Elijah Paku was confident going into Thursday’s wool pressing competition but said the stress got to him and he ended up overthinking things.

“It went good – did it a bit too heavy and had silly little mistakes from thinking too much.”

Paku said shearing was in his blood – he grew up in the sheds and now worked for Shear Expertise.

This year, Paku decided to compete in the junior shearing competition and for the second time took part in wool pressing.

Although, after watching his cousin compete in wool handling, he said it would be great to have a go at that next year as well.

He said the best thing about the Golden Shears was the competitors.

He enjoyed seeing the “guns” and those experienced compete in their speciality.

One day, he hoped to compete in the open competition.

He said when working with shearers who had been doing it for decades and still going faster than him, he thought, “I’m going to beat you one day, and then I’m still probably going to be doing this at your age”.

Next year, he hoped to do show shearing and see where shearing could take him.

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