The influence of New Zealand shearing around the world has been highlighted with wins in four countries in just over a week, as dozens of shearers and woolhandlers enjoy their migration north, and west, for the New Zealand winter.
The latest came on Sunday 20th at the Connacht championships at Ballinrobe, (in the west of Ireland). Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, won the open blades shearing final, and 2017 New Zealand Intermediate champion Sean Gouk, of Masterton, won the senior machines shearing final.
Three days earlier Oldfield had regained the Royal Ulster blades title he won previously in 2016. There was a symbolism in the win at Ballinrobe, where in 2016 he had his only machine shearing win, with victory in the junior final.
Matthew Smith, originally from Northland and now living and farming in Cornwall, won the Devon County Show's Openmachine shearing title, which also took place on Sunday. Smith claimed a Master Shearer in the last year in recognition of his World Record tallies in both New Zealand and England.
Closer to home were two woolhandling titles the previous weekend at the Dubbo show in New South Wales.
Motueka-based World, Golden Shears and New Zealand woolhandling champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, won the open woolhandling title for a second time, and the novice title was won by Jasmyn Wihongi, of Hastings.
Allan Oldfield, (who this week returned to the day job shearing in Spain), is currently second in New Zealand's 2019 World Championships blade shearing selection series
with prospects of getting into the team for France - ahead of father Phil Oldfield, who (with series leader Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie), took New Zealand to second place in the 2017 World final in Invercargill.
The Balmoral win was the first in a bid to complete a rare cleansweep of the Open blades titles at the big Royal Shows in the UK.
Oldfield returns next week to Somerset in England to defend the Royal Bath and West title he won last year. In June he will be in Edinburgh defending the Royal Highland title he won last year, and in July he will try to win the Royal Welsh title for the first time.
It is thought Welsh shearer Elfed Jackson is the only person to have won all four open blades titles in the same season.
The nomadic lifestyle of the global shearer will, however, keep him from getting in some competition experience this year in France, where the World championships will be held in Le Dorat in July next year.
When this year's French championships are held in August he will be working in the Falkland Islands. He is planning then to head for Nepal to teach blade shearing in September before returning to New Zealand for the end of the blades team circuit.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand influence on shearing around the World was shown at the fourth Japan championships last week, won by Shun Oishi, who has lived in New Zealand working as a shearer since 2006.
Having first learnt shearing while on an agricultural exchange in Germany, the only full time shearer from a country that has just 10,000 sheep was foremost in establishing the Japan championships.
The runner-up, winning the right to join Oishi at next year's World championships, was Youhei Miyano, winner of the previous year's Japan novice title.
It was, Oishi reckoned, a "turning point" for Japanese shearing, with Miyano being the first from the main island of Honshu to win the Manba Cup as best shearer in Japan.
Oishi, who describes himself as "a foreigner, as [I'm] already living overseas") said it was previously thought no one from Honshu could win the honour on the northern island of Hokkaido.