Eric Barber, left, Mii ‘Mic’ Nooroa, and Kelvin O’Reilly, celebrating Nooroa’s birthday at the Wool Shed on Monday. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

ELISA VORSTER
elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

The former two-times Golden Shears woolhandling champion who collapsed on stage in March marked his 62nd birthday this week by celebrating with those who kept him alive.

Mii Nooroa, also known as ‘Mic’, went into cardiac arrest on stage in front of 800 spectators, minutes after competing in the final veterans’ event at the 58th annual shearing and woolhandling championships
in Masterton.

The night’s events ended abruptly as on-site medic Barry Ibell and others from the crowd worked frantically to keep him alive.

On Monday night, Nooroa stood before those who resuscitated him, as well as other members of Golden Shears committee, to share heartfelt thanks for their lifesaving efforts.

“I can’t remember anything, but I would just like to thank you for what you’ve done,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.

“I owe you guys my life.”

Nooroa’s road to recovery hasn’t been smooth sailing, before or after quadruple bypass surgery.

“I died a couple of times in Wellington [hospital] but they brought me back.

“I don’t think they wanted me up there yet.”

Golden Shears committee vice-president Sam Saunders was grateful a medic was on site for the event and was “extremely pleased” they could all share Nooroa’s birthday with him, presenting him with a cake
to celebrate.

“You were obviously meant to have this birthday.”

Among those Nooroa thanked were Kelvin O’Reilly and Eric Barber, two of the first on the scene to administer CPR.

Barber said he and his Wainuioru Rural Fire Service colleagues, Tim Williams and Andy Phillips, were able to put into practice the training they were given on the job.

O’Reilly, a manager at Farmlands Masterton, said the company sponsored the woolpressing parts of the event and had several staff present when Nooroa collapsed in front of them.

It was a company requirement to have a staff member trained in first aid, and O’Reilly had renewed his certificate just two weeks before the incident.

Both O’Reilly and Barber acknowledged it took the combined efforts of people with the right skills and tools to keep Nooroa alive until the ambulance arrived.

“If it wasn’t for the defibrillator, he wouldn’t be with us,” O’Reilly said.

Nooroa agreed: “I’m quite lucky it happened here.”

He is uncertain whether he will compete again next year, or if he will even be allowed to, but hasn’t ruled it out.