Two shearers who have each gone more than a decade in Open class shearing without victory finally made the breakthrough during three competitions in the South Island at the weekend.
Both originally from Dannevirke, Paerata Abraham claimed his first Open title at the Mayfield A and P Show on Saturday and Ringakaha Paewai won at the Sefton Shears in North Canterbury on Sunday.
It was also a big weekend for Geraldine's Allan Oldfield who at Sefton had his first Open blade shearing win in New Zealand, having previously had three significant wins in the UK.
In another big moment for the up-and-comers, former Golden Shears Junior and Senior champion Brett Roberts, of Mataura, scored only his second Open win, successfully defending the Open title at the Cheviot A and P Show on Saturday.
Related by whakapapa back to late Southern Hawke's Bay shearing contractor Lui Paewai and each in their 12th season in the Open class since last winning as Senior shearers in the 2005-2006 season, Abraham and Paewai both won on quality after being last to finish in their respective finals.
A regular top competitor in the short-form of speed-shearing, Abraham is best known at Open level for his only Golden Shears Open final in 2016, when he was ultimately placed 6th after putting a sheep around the field in finishing first in 15min 50.234sec.
Reaching three other finals at the Golden Shears, for 5th in the 2004 Intermediate and placings in two PGG Wrightson National Circuit finals, in 2011 and 2017, his last show win was in the 2005 New Zealand Merino Championships Senior final in Alexandra.
Paewai entered the Open grade with the unique achievement of having already shorn in the finals of the four other grades at the Golden Shears, and winning two of the titles.
He was fourth in the 2001 Novice final, won the Junior final in 2002 and the 2003 Intermediate final, in which future Open and World champion Cam Ferguson was third, and he shore twice in the Senior final for runner-up to Chopper Waihape in 2005 and fourth in the final won the following year by Rowland Smith.
He also shore in the New Zealand championships Intermediate and Senior finals in Te Kuit.
A former Maori-Pakeha teams event winner in Masterton, Paewai was third-to-top qualifier for this year's PGG Wrightson Wool Circuit semi-finals, but missed a place in the final.
Abraham's win in a 20-sheep final on Saturday was in direct contrast to the rip-snorting pace of the 2016 Golden Shears Open final.
This time he was last to finish a four-man final, more than 40 seconds after first finisher Floyde Neil, of Taumarunui, but had the best quality, by more than four points, and had a comfortable win.
Paewai won by less than two points from runner-up and Balclutha shearer Matt Tumohe at Sefton and Roberts retained the Cheviot show's with a buffer of more than eight points from runner-up Shaun Burgess, of Rakaia.
Oldfield's blades win was particularly important, beating World championships runner-up Tony Dobbs in what was the second round of a series to find the representatives for the 2019 World Championships in France, and reversing the result from a non-series competition the previous day at Mayfield.
Milton sisters Tia and Monica Potae had a family triumph when they were winner and runner-up respectively in the Cheviot Open woolhandling final, It was Tia Potae's first win since the Lumsden final in 2013.
Golden Shears Senior shearing champion Tegwyn Bradley, of Woodville, added the Cheviot and Sefton Senior titles to his collection, taking him to 13 wins in the grade, including 10 this season, while Brandon Maguire Ratima, of Winton, completed the same treble in the Intermediate grade.
It was a busy weekend for Abraham and Roberts who along with Mayfield fourth placegetter Jimmy Samuels, of Marton, flew north to compete in the New Zealand Rural Games Speedshear, won by Samuels, in Palmerston North on Sunday.
RESULTS from the Mayfield A and P Show Shearing Championships on Saturday, March 10, 2018:
Open final (20 sheep): Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 19min 14sec, 63.55pts, 1; Matt Tumohe (Balclutha) 18min 41sec, 65.65pts, 2; Floyde Neil (Taumarunui) 18min 33sec, 66.1pts, 3; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 18min 34sec, 66.3pts, 4.
Senior final (10 sheep): Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 11min 45sec, 45.25pts, 1; Luis Pincol (Chile/Geraldine) 13min 17sec, 47.85pts, 2; Alex Smith (Rakaia) 13min 29sec, 48.75pts, 3; Corey White (Waimate) 13min 3sec, 50.85pts, 4.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Liam Norrie (Cheviot) 10min 43sec, 37.48pts, 1; Sam Bryan (Hororata) 11min 42sec, 46.6pts, 2; Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 10min 46sec, 47.47pts, 3; Adam Hodges (Geraldine) 11min 8sec, 48.4pts, 4.
Junior final (4 sheep): Natalya Rangiawha (Raglan) 8min 31sec, 37.05pts, 1 Mitchell Menzies (Ranfurly) 8min 27sec, 38.1pts, 2; Brayden Clifford (Gore) 10min 33sec, 40.4pts, 3; Cody Davidson (Hakatere) 8min 53sec, 46.15pts, 4.
Blades final (3 sheep): Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 10min 5sec, 41.92pts, 1; Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 9min 28sec, 42.07pts, 2; Mike McConnell (Timaru) 11min 12sec, 42.27pts, 3; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 11min 42sec, 47.1pts, 4.
RESULTS from the Cheviot A and P Show shearing and woolhandling championships on Satirday, March 10, 2018:
Open final (10 sheep): Brett Roberts (Mataura) 10min 49.75sec, 39.6875pts, 1; Shaun Burgess (Rakaia) 10min 22.78sec, 47.439pts, 2; Lyall Windleburn (Rangiora) 11min 24.03sec, 48.1015pts, 3.
Senior final (6 sheep): Lionel Taumata (Taumarunui/Gore) 8min 25.66sec, 34.616pts,1; Jordan Grant (Amberley) 9min 9.47sec, 37.46pts, 2; Sarah Higgins (Blenheim) 9min 56.1sec, 40.8095pts, 3.
Intermediate final (4 sheep): Brandon Maguire-Ratima (Winton) 7min 16.12sec, 29.556pts, 1; Duncan Higgins (Havelock) 6min 53.07sec, 30.9035pts, 2; Kelly Macdonald (Lake Hawea) 6min 54.81sec, 35.7405pts, 3.
Open final: Tia Potae (Milton) 37.85pts, 1; Monica Potae (Milton) 42.35pts, 2; Erana Smith (Ruatoria) 3.
Senior final: Lashara Anderson (Christchurch/Invercargill) 41.97pts, 1; Sharna Ross (Marton) 60.806pts, 2; Sophie Davies (Cheviot) 3.
Junior final: Lionel Taumata (Taumarunui/Gore) 45.206pts, 1; Hikitea Hill (-) 48.1pts, 2; Brandon Maguire-Ratima (Winton) 3.
RESULTS from the Sefton Shears on Sunday, March 11, 2018:
Open final (10 sheep): Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 11min 11.66sec, 41.48pts, 1; Matt Tumohe (Balclutha) 10min 50.31sec, 43.32pts, 2; Hayden Tapp (Taihape) 10min 46.18sec, 3.
Senior final (8 sheep): Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 7min 12.97sec, 27.77pts, 1; Luis Pincol (Chile/Geraldine) 7min 23.5sec, 28.68pts, 2; Jordan Grant (Amberley) 8min 1.25sec, 30.06pts, 3.
Intermediate final (4 sheep): Brandon Maguire-Ratima (Winton) 7min 33.84sec, 27.19pts, 1; Duncan Higgins (Havelock) 6min 54.15sec, 29.46pts, 2; Kelly Macdonald (Lake Hawea) 8min 40.97sec, 42.05pts, 3.
Junior final (3 sheep): Brayden Clifford (Gore) 8min 23.2sec, 31.49pts, 1; Natalya Rangiawha (Raglan) 8min 1.06sec, 35.39pts, 2; Patrick Smith-Kerr 8min 26.22sec, 79.98pts, 3.
Blades final (4 sheep): Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 13min 4.66sec, 45.23pts, 1; Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 13min 23.41sec, 46.67pts, 2; Mike McConnell (Timaru) 13min 22.82sec, 52.14pts, 3.