Alexandra's Gabriela Schmidt-Morrell is looking for a woolhandler from Switzerland to join the team representing that country in next year's world shearing championships in France.

The only problem is woolhandling does not exist as a job in Switzerland.

She is hoping to find someone who is a Swiss citizen (but does not necessarily need to be working in New Zealand) and has good woolhandling skills, to be part of the team at the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Le Dorat, France in July.

Mrs Schmidt-Morrell was originally from Switzerland and is married to shearing contractor Dion Morrell.


They run their contracting business in Alexandra and she looks after the administration.

They have two daughters, Charis and Jelena, and son Ursin (17).

Mrs Schmidt-Morrell and Charis represented Switzerland in the woolhandling event when the world championships were held in Invercargill in 2017.

At the time, Charis was too short to throw the fleece on to the table properly.

''It was really cool, very exciting,'' Charis said.

They finished about halfway up the rankings, which they were happy with.

''It was the first time the Swiss had entered a team,'' Mrs Schmidt-Morrell said.

''We thought we should keep it going and have a team in France.''


Stepdaughter Pagan Karauria, a top national master woolhandler, had taught them what they needed to know and they practised a lot.

They have two shearers coming from Switzerland to work for them and who will be part of the team.

Mrs Schmidt-Morrell said as she was so busy with the business and as the practise would take a lot of time, she would prefer to have another woolhandler in the team, while she became team manager.

The problem is finding someone qualified to fill the role.

They are also looking for sponsorship and although Heiniger provided the tools for the shearers last time, the team had to fund their travel and other costs themselves.

They are expecting to do the same again next year, although they will add on a holiday to Switzerland to see family.

Mr Morrell had been an enthusiastic supporter and provided help for the team. Charis said her dad painted some wool brooms red and added a white tape cross to represent the Swiss flag, for them to use.

''After we used them we had red paint on our hands,'' she said.

They have until March to establish names and numbers.

Mrs Schmidt-Morrell said as most mobs of Swiss sheep were small - about 20 or so - it was uneconomic to handle the wool.

Shearing was a service, and the fleeces were usually thrown into one bag, ungraded or classed.

''In Switzerland, farmers pay to get rid of it or they use it for home or throw it away.''

If anyone knows of anyone suitable, Mrs Schmidt-Morrell can be contacted on 027210-6459.

Southern Rural Life