Tributes are flowing in from around the world in memory of Dannevirke shearing identity Koropiko Tumatahi (Koro) Mullins, who died suddenly on Monday at the age of 65.

Mr Mullins was known across all aspects for the shearing industry and sports, from shearer and shearing contractor to a frontman commentating role shearing great Sir David Fagan says set the standard on a global scale.

Born and raised in the Rotorua area, and of Te Arawa stock, he met the-then Mavis Paewai when he was a woolpressing teenager working for her brothers and father in Southern Hawke's Bay.

It sparked what Fagan says was a unique family involvement and commitment to the shearing and wool industry, becoming the basis of Maori Television series Shear Bro which first aired in July last year.


They took over the run and as Paewai Mullins Shearing operated for more than 30 years before passing the reins to daughter Aria, who confirmed her father will rest at Makirirkiri Marae, near Dannevirke, from Wednesday to the final service starting at 11am pm Friday.

Son of the late Paul Mullins and Hinetau Hemara, Koro Mullins became a top open-class shearer in the 1980s and early 1990s, a feature being his one Golden Shears Open final and finishing sixth in the iconic event in 1993, the fifth won by Fagan.

Mavis Mullins was twice the Golden Shears Open woolhandling champion, in 1987 and 1993, son Tuma would win the separate Senior shearing and woolhandling titles at the New Zealand championships in Te Kuiti, where Aria Mullins would also win the Senior woolhandling title.

Second son Punga also competed successfully, and now runs cafe the Catching Pen in Dannevirke, where he is also standing for a seat on the Tararua District Council elections, in the footsteps of his father, a councillor from 1998 to 2007.

Meanwhile Mavis Mullins branched into a career in corporate and volunteer leadership, from groundbreaking company directorships to becoming the Golden Shears' first female president and the first female board member of the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union.

It was as a competitions commentator that Koro Mullins established his post-competitive role in shearing – in demand to get the tempo going at competitions throughout the lower North Island, including shows throughout Hawke's Bay.

He and son Tuma became the frontmen in a sizeable commentating team at the Golden Shears, and more recently Koro Mullins fronted the Shears' live-streaming watched around the globe.

He was one of "THE voices of shearing," said Welsh commentator Huw Condron, who first met the man while shearing in New Zealand in 2002-2003. It was over the next decade or so that they would commentate together at World Championships in both Wales and New Zealand.


Condron said Koro Mullins became a mentor, and numerous intrigued media covering competitions remarked on his role in both informing the public and whipping them into frenzied support for people they might previously have never heard of, and that the commentators were a show in themselves.

Condron said he and the shearing fraternity throughout the UK were stunned waking to the news of the passing of someone highly regarded not only for the commentating but as an employer and friend of hundreds of British staff the shearing business had employed.

Sir David Fagan said the global World of shearing is "rocked" by the news. He said Koro Mullins' involvement and commitment was the fullest in every way and all within the industry and sport were united in sharing their condolences with the whanau. "It's a big loss," he said.

Koro Mullins was born in Rotorua on August 13, 1954, and is survived by his wife, sons Punga and Tuma, daughters Korina and Aria, and 14 grandchildren.