When they say promising Southland and King Country sportsman Lionel Taumata is prepared to go the extra mile to achieve his goals they ain't kidding – even if he is a shearer and still trying to decide what the dream is.
At the weekend he was at it again, having travelled 340km from Taumarunui, where he is currently working in his father's shearing gang, to Carterton, for the Wairarapa A and P Show's Spring Shears, where even a win, in the senior event, would barely cover the costs.
Fortunately there were a couple of days' work thrown-in, and as if by demand, another victory followed, propelling him closer to the next step on the way to the ultimate goals.
At 23, with 18 wins in 62 finals progressing through the grades over the last eight years, and on the way to the open grade next season, Taumata accepts such lofty dreams as a Golden Shears open final or a World Championship are a long, long way off, but it's the weekly nature of the game in which every competition is usually a long way off.
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So far off he's barely thought of them and says: "I've never really had a dream in shearing. It's just good fun."
"Maybe in the last three years I've really thought about shearing," he says. "My dream in shearing right now would be to make the Top 30 in the Golden Shears open in the next few years."
There's no sponsors – "That's for the open fellas" – and the travel and accommodation are paid by "just the boys chipping in" and sharing costs when they can.
Based now for most of the time at Winton in Southland, he has in the first five weekends of the 2018-2019 season shorn in five finals spread south-to-north over 1180kms of NZ, from sixth at Alexandra, a win at Waimate, another at Leeston and third place in the Royal New Zealand Show's Great Raihania Shears in Hastings to Saturday's win.
"I love it," he says, standing in the light rain before bouncing back into the Ford Ranger for the three-and-a-half hours trip home after the victory at Clareville Showgrounds, one of 10 venues he plans to have shorn in the pre-Christmas phase by the end of next month.
It could hit 30 by the end of the season with an average of close to two a week in the second half from January to April, from Winton in the south to the Royal Easter Show in Auckland, including such remoter venues as Tapanui, Mayfield, Cheviot and Sefton.
He first shore in a final when fourth as a junior at A-grade show in the Southern Shears in Gore in 2012, and he's now won nine senior finals, pushing him ever closer to an upgrading threshold, but set to step-up voluntarily next season anyway.
Next stop is the Manawatu Show in Feilding this Saturday, and then the Central Hawke's By Show in Waipukurau, a flight south for the New Zealand Corriedale championships in Christchurch and the west Otago A and P Show further away at Tapanui - "two shows in two days," even if they are 500km apart.
Then it will be back north for the Taranaki Shears in Stratford.
Former Golden Shears president, top woolhandler and shearing contractor Mavis Mullins has seen many examples of young shearers travelling everywhere, when something somewhat less costly and time-consuming like a walk, run or drive for a game of footy or cricket at the local park would seem far more practical.
"I think our people are different," she said. "They don't do it for the money. I think for a lot of them they haven't had the chance to chase the dream. This is their chance to have a go."
Another at Carterton putting in the kilometres was New Zealand representative David Buick, a farmer from remote Pongaroa in Northern Wairarapa who has competed from Alexandra to Gisborne in the first five weekends of the season, and who on Saturday won the Wairarapa Open title for a third time, having won previously in 2013 and 2014.
On the competition scene for more than 20 years, and scoring his 16th Open win since his first 10 years ago, Buick shore the 15-sheep final in 14 min 14sec and had the best points in shearing board judging to beat runner-up, Great Raihania Shears winner and reigning World champion John Kirkpatrick by 14 seconds off the board and an ultimate margin of 2.37pts.
New Zealand open woolhandling champion and 2008 World Champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, bounced back from disappointments in failing to make finals at Gisborne and Hastings to win her Wairarapa final, beating 2010 World teams title teammate Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti, and also well-travelled Alexandra and Hastings winner Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra.
It was a big day for Masterton shearer Kyle Stevens Mita who with almost no competition history won Saturday's Intermediate shearing final, beating Eletahuna shearer Paora Moanaroa, who won two junior finals early last season, while Atawhai Hadfield, a pupil at Lindisfarne College, Hastings added the Junior title to that of his breakthrough in Hastings eight days earlier.
Lucky Garrett, of Eketahuna, won the senior woolhandling final in a surprise victory over No 1 ranked 2017-2018 Junior and 2018 New Zealand Spring Shears Senior winner Tyler Hira, of Onewhero, and the Junior woolhandling final provided a first win for Lucas Broughton, of Gisborne.
RESULTS from the Wairarapa A and P Show Spring Shears at Clareville, Carterton, on Saturday, October 27, 2018:
Open final (15 sheep): David Buick (Pongaroa) 14min 14sec, 49.96pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 14min 28sec, 52.33pts, 2; Murray Henderson (Halcombe) 14min 40sec, 56.86pts, 3; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 14min 36sec, 61.33pts, 4.
Senior final (10 sheep): Lionel Taumata (Taumarunui/Winton) 12min 28sec, 50pts, 1; David Gordon (Masterton) 12min 40sec, 51.4pts, 2; Jordi Grant (Amberley) 13min 43sec, 57.05pts, 3; Daniel Seed (Woodville) 13min 43sec, 58.95pts, 4.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): Kyle Stevens Mita (Masterton) 9min 34sec, 42.5pts, 1; Paora Moanaroa (Eketahuna) 9min 9sec, 44.85pts, 2; Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 10min 38sec, 49.3pts, 3; Tane Paku Matiaha (Masterton) 9min 44sec, 50pts, 4.
Junior final (4 sheep): Atawhai Hadfield (Tiniroto) 10min 16sec, 43.3pts, 1; Joseph Gordon (Masterton) 8min 55sec, 48.25pts, 2; Quentin Mathieu (France) 8min 39sec, 57.2pts, 3; Rex Peterson (Hunterville) 12min 49sec, 69.7pts, 4.
Novice final (1 sheep): Adam Gordon (Masterton) 3min 37sec, 32.85pts, 1; Jerome Papworth (Alfredton) 4min 55sec, 50.75pts, 2; Lucie Grancher (France) 5min 5sec, 72.25pts, 3; Renee Bigss (-) 7min 50sec, 82.5pts, 4.
Open final: Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 95.65pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 131.4pts, 2; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 142.38sec, 3.
Senior final: Lucky Garrett (Eketahuna) 110.64pts, 1; Tyler Hira (Onewhero) 155.08pts, 2; Samantha Tipene (Eketahuna) 165.96pts, 3.
Junior final: Lukas Broughton (Gisborne) 92.64pts, 1; Cortex Ostler (Dannevirke) 99;98pts, 2; Isaiah Forward (-) 143.96pts, 3.