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Watch NZH Local Focus: Taihape man shears one million sheep

By Sieska Verdonk

Kopere Downs works in the back country near Taihape.

He's been a shearer for 20 years, and now he's reached a major milestone.

"Today is my millionth sheep. I've shorn my millionth sheep on record. I have a little black book that I have written in every day for the last 20 years," he says.

It is not an achievement you often hear about as most shearers don't document their work.

Very few stick at the job for two decades and Mr Downs can understand why.

"After 20 years, I still really don't like sheep. They are just so frustrating and ignorant and stupid. I think they are clever but, argh. Anyway, I'll go to work every day, shear a sheep," says Mr Downs.

The father of four says he keeps going to put food on the table for his whanau.

"It's keeping constant and keeping my tallies to provide for my family, that's the most important thing," says Mr Downs.

And his boss even thinks he's worth his weight in wool.

"Kopere is special because of his work ethic.

His work ethic is second to none. Guys who work like that I classify as soldiers. He's a day in day out kinda guy. Kopere is another level above that, he's a green beret," says Phill Hourigan, owner of Hourigan Shearing.

A green beret, who now has a new goal of two million sheep.

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