Masterton woolhandler Mii Nooroa woke up in hospital with no recollection of how he got there, despite being resuscitated in front of a crowd of 800 spectators at the Golden Shears championships on Friday.
"I don't know what happened," he said from Wellington Hospital yesterday.
"I felt dizzy – that's all I remember really."
The former Golden Shears champion collapsed of a suspected heart attack just minutes after competing and said the incident had shocked him into wanting to make drastic lifestyle changes.
Despite being active throughout his life through netball, softball and basketball, the 61-year-old has accepted that last Friday's woolhandling event was most likely his last.
"It's quite physical. I haven't got the strength - I think I'm finished."
His first memory after competing was waking up in hospital.
"I didn't even know I was in hospital until I woke up and I said to my sister, 'Where am I?'.
"I was really shocked."
Nooroa is no stranger to the limelight, but last Friday's events drew the type of attention he had never expected. He had no indication anything was wrong while he was competing – in fact it was the opposite.
"Hard out, I felt good.
"I just went along and did my thing – I didn't think of anything."
He had already been visited by many people in the shearing industry who had told him how the community had banded together to help the on-site medic resuscitate him until the ambulance arrived.
"I would just like to thank all those who helped me – Phil Morris, Mavis Mullins and the medic [Barry Ibell].
"If it wasn't for them, I don't think I would be here."
He said the whole ordeal had left him extremely grateful, but also scared.
"There are lots of thing I've got to do to look after myself."
He thought it was now important to share the tough lesson he learnt with others in his community.
"Everyone in the shearing industry – get checked up and keep fit."
Golden Shears journalist Doug Laing had known Nooroa since they "played as kids in the street" and said news of his recovery was "good news for the whole community".
"The shearing industry is very much a big family.
"All these people know each other really well, it would have been pretty distressing for them."
Official placings for the Veterans event showed Nooroa finished third with 99.25pts, behind Mavis Mullins [66.69pts], and winner Bo Paku-Clark [66.91pts].
Nooroa's previous results include the junior woolhandling title in 1988, placing fourth in the open championship in 1989, and third the following year.
He went on to become Golden Shears Open Woolhandling champion in 1992, edging out multiple World and Golden Shears champion, Joanne Kumeroa.
- Wairarapa Times-Age