SHEARING: Boss wants all four world titles

Doug Laing
The difference between Dannevirke shearing boss Mavis Mullins and world champion shearer David Fagan is obvious - Mullins says she's shorn only one sheep, and he's done about two million.
But it doesn't daunt the popular businesswoman and woolhandler who has been named to manage Fagan and the rest of the New Zealand shearing and woolhandling team for this year's world championships in Toowoomba.
Mullins is the first female appointed to the position, with men who had all made names for themselves on the shearing board having managed all the championship teams since the first world event in England in 1977.
She is also the first person from Hawke's Bay to be selected in a world championship team, as either a competitor or manager.
A stalwart of the woolhandling circuit, who won the Golden Shears open woolhandling title in 1987 and 1993, Mullins has been to the world championships before, as a judge in Ireland in 1998.
And she is hardly a novice in the world of management, or to important trips abroad, having been a national Maori Businesswoman of the Year and led a business development mission to the USA.
Queensland's Toowoomba will be a lot different than Dannevirke, where she and husband Koro run Hawke's Bay's biggest shearing firm.
According to Australians at the Golden Shears in Masterton last week, there's hardly sheep within 100km of the garden city where the championships will be held west of Brisbane during a sheep and wool festival from June 7-12.
Sheep for the contest, in which Fagan, 43, will be aiming to become world champion for sixth time, are expected to be flown in from more than 500km away. But it doesn't phase her.
"I am stoked.

It is a real privilege and honour to be invited by the industry to take on this role," Mullins said. Mullins has been involved in the shearing business all her life - her father and grandfather were both shearing contractors who started their own business.
"My appointment has made me realise that the key message for me is to take every opportunity that comes my way."
At the 2003 championships in Edinburgh, the New Zealand team came home with three world championship titles:
Fagan's victory, the teams shearing win by Fagan and fellow Te Kuiti shearer Dean Ball, and the woolhandling triumph by Joanne Kumeroa, of Wanganui.
"This year, my aim is for the team to bring home all four titles," Mullins said.
Fagan lost his Golden Shears open crown in Masterton last weekend but qualified on the same night for the last place in the team by winning the Wrightson national final, the culmination of a series of shows which started with the compulsory merino competition at Alexandra five months ago.
The other machine shearer is Rakaia's Grant Smith, who won the merino title last September. South Islanders Shane Casserley and Bill Michelle will chase the blade shearing title, while Kumeroa will defend her title after winning a qualifying event at the Golden Shears. The second woolhandler in the team is Masterton's Tina Rimene.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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