Wairarapa shearer Paerata Abraham has capped an emotional night of speed shearing in Te Kuiti by beating the organiser and celebrating with a haka tribute to fellow shearer Beau St George, who died in a road crash in France last April.
From Dannevirke but now living in Masterton, Abraham shore the fastest time of 16.56 seconds for a single lamb to win the North Island Speedshear Championship at the Waitete Rugby Club in Te Kuiti last night.
The runner-up was big speedshears rival and Te Kuiti event organiser Jack Fagan, who shore his final lamb in 17.28 seconds, while third was young Kaeo shearer Marshall Guy, shearing 17.86 seconds.
The emotion followed with Abraham accepting the Beau St George Memorial Trophy, with memories of shearing with St George in the woolshed years ago, followed by Tika Tonu, the haka of Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa iwi Ngati Kahungunu.
The trophy was presented by St George's father, former world lambshearing record holder Neil St George, who in front of the speedshear crowd spoke of the death of a son as being "the most cruellest thing in the whole, whole World" that a father could face
With a special message for the younger ones embarking on the lifestyle of a globetrotting shearer he warned of the driving on different sides of the road around the World and said: "If you can do one thing for me take utter care. I'm going through so much pain I can't even describe it. Every day I cry."
Abraham passed the trophy back to the St George family, saying it should be in their care between each presentation.
The winning shearer did, however, keep the $2000 winning prize.
Daniel Langlands, of Piopio, shore 25.7 seconds to claim $600 as winner of a unique Senior final, in which Catherine Mullooly, currently working at Piopio but from Matawai, near Gisborne, was runner-up in 27.18sec, and third place went to Eleonore Resneau, of France, with 27.66sec. The two women beat three other male finalists.
Fagan and Mullooly beat Resneau and brother Thimoleon Resneau in an international match and there was a fitting end to a farmers speedshear, won by Neil St George.