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Shears travelling just good fun

Lionel Taumata won his ninth senior title by winning the Wairarapa Spring Shears Senior final on Saturday at Clareville Showgrounds, Carterton. PHOTO/DOUG LAING/SSNZ


When they say promising Southland and King Country sportsman Lionel Taumata is prepared to go the extra mile to achieve his goals they are not kidding.

At the weekend, he was at it again, having travelled 340km from Taumarunui, where he is working in his father’s shearing gang, to Carterton, for the Wairarapa A&P Show’s Spring Shears, Even a win in the senior event at Carterton would barely cover the costs of his trip.

Fortunately, there were a couple of days’ work thrown-in, and as if by demand another victory followed, propelling him closer to the next step on the way to the ultimate goals.

At 23, Taumata accepts such lofty dreams as a Golden Shears open final or a World Championship are a long, long way off, but it’s the weekly nature of the game in which every competition is usually a long way off.

“I’ve never really had a dream in shearing,” he said.

“It’s just good fun.

“My dream in shearing right now would be to make the top 30 in the Golden Shears open in the next few years.”

Taumata has, in the first five weekends of the 2018-2019 season, shorn in five finals spread across 1180km of New Zealand.

“I love it,” he said after the victory at Clareville Showgrounds, one of 10 venues he plans to have shorn in the pre-Christmas phase by the end of next month.

It could hit 30 by the end of the season with an average of close to two a week in the second half from January to April.

Former Golden Shears president, top woolhandler and shearing contractor Mavis Mullins has seen many examples of young shearers travelling everywhere, when something somewhat less costly and time-consuming like a walk, run or drive for a game of footy or cricket at the local park would seem far more practical.

“I think our people are different,” she said.

“They don’t do it for the money.

“I think for a lot of them they haven’t had the chance to chase the dream and this is their chance to have a go.”

Another at Carterton putting in the kilometres was New Zealand representative David Buick, a farmer from Pongaroa in northern Wairarapa who has competed from Alexandra to Gisborne in the first five weekends of the season, and who on Saturday won the Wairarapa open title for a third time, having won previously in 2013 and 2014.

It was a big day for Masterton shearer Kyle Stevens Mita, who with almost no competition history won Saturday’s intermediate shearing final.

Lucky Garrett, of Eketahuna, won the senior woolhandling final.

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