New world championship woolhandling hope Pagan Karauria has passed another milestone with a win in an historic first New Zealand Shearing Championships' women's shearing final.

The event attracted 14 entries for the heats, and a full-house for the six-shearer final on Friday night in Te Kuiti's Les Munro Centre.

Karauria, 30, of Alexandra, was first to finish, shearing the eight second-shear sheep in 11min 10.42sec.

She was up against three world record breakers and a Canadian world championships shearing representative.


Read more shearing articles here.

Karauria was 10 seconds quicker than event instigator and world women's nine-hours lamb shearing record holder Emily Welch, of Waikaretu, who won a women's event at the Golden Shears four weeks ago.

Karauria also had the best points in judging on the shearing board and second-best quality overall to win by 1.022pts.

Senior-class shearer Laura Bradley, of Woodville had the best quality points overall and claimed third place, and fourth place went to Ingrid Smith, a former world women's eight-hour lamb shearing record holder and wife of 2014 world champion and multiple Golden Shears and New Zealand titles winner Rowland Smith.

Canadian world championships representative Pauline Bolay, who has shorn several New Zealand seasons for Welch, was 5th.

The six finalist await the announcement after the NZ shearing champs first women's shearing final, won by Pagan Karauria (second from right). Photo / Doug Laing SSNZ
The six finalist await the announcement after the NZ shearing champs first women's shearing final, won by Pagan Karauria (second from right). Photo / Doug Laing SSNZ

Masterton lawyer, freelance writer, former Labour Party general election hopeful and former world ewes record holder, Jills Angus Burney was 6th.

Karauria, who suffered serious back injuries in a work van crash in 2008, was, along with Welch and Angus Burney one of the five female shearers featured in the docu-movie She Shears which was launched at last year's New Zealand Film Festival.

Along with the growing number of women reaching finals in competitions around the country, it was one of the catalysts for the move by Welch and husband and fellow world record breaker Sam to get major shows to establish women's events in addition to the grades in which women have been competing against men with increasing success.


The ultimate aim is to establish a women's world title.

It's been a 12 months of ticking boxes for Karauria, who in August was recognised by Shearing Sports New Zealand as a Master Woolhandler, emulating the acclaim achieved by shearing father Dion Morrell and woolhandling mother Tina Rimene.

At the Golden Shears on March 2, Karauria won a New Zealand World woolhandling team selection event and a trip to France to go for a world title in July.

Significantly involved in managing her father's shearing run she hasn't had a lot of time shearing, and was surprised to beat others who she believed would have been preparing especially for the event.

"I've only had about three days' shearing in the last few months," she said. "I didn't know I had it in me. This is awesome. When I won, I thought: This is quite cool."

Among her previous better achievements as a shearer were a 6th place in the All Nations Senior World championships support event final in Invercargill two years ago, and 5th in a New Zealand championships junior final in 2013.


Women's final (8 sheep): Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 11min 10.42sec, 44.146pts, 1; Emily Welch (Waikaretu) 11min 20.85sec, 45.168pts, 2; Laura Bradley (Woodville) 12min 13.74sec, 47.062pts, 3; Ingrid Smith (Maraekakaho) 12min 36.7sec, 49.46pts, 4; Pauline Bolay (Canada) 12min 27.26sec, 50.613pts, 5; Jills Angus Burney (Masterton) 11min 32.72sec, 54.261pts, 6.