A new shearing sports season starts with the two day New Zealand fine wool merino championships in Alexandra on Friday October 4.

It's the first of 59 shearing sports competitions throughout the country from October to April, with competitions being held at 34 A and P shows, several country sports days and in town halls, sports stadiums and other facilities from the Far North to the deep south.

The Merino Championships are a stand-alone event, being held Alexandra's Molyneux Stadium.

Read more shearing articles here.

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All but one of the events during the season features shearing competition, while the Merino Championships on Friday and Saturday is the first of 22 with woolhandling, including the woolhandling-only Wairarapa Pre-Shears Woolhandling Championships at the start of March.

For open-class shearers the Merino Championships is the first of five qualifying rounds in the PGG Wrightson Wools National Circuit, the final of which will be at the 60th Golden Shears being held in Masterton on March 4-7.

Special features of the Merino Championships include a transtasman merino shearing match in which New Zealanders Grant Smith and Stacey Te Huia will try to get one back on the Australians after a defeat at the Royal Perth Show in West Australia last weekend.

There will be more than 100 shearers and woolhandlers competing in the Merino Championships.

The open shearing championship will also feature a strong transtasman element with Master Shearer Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, out to repeat a win of last year, edging out West Australian raider Damien Boyle, who has dominated the event over the last decade.

The open woolhandling championship will feature home competition hero Pagan Karauria, in the first competition appearance in New Zealand by any of our new world champions since they claimed their titles in France in July.

Karauria won the world teams championship with Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape.

The first competition appearance of the season by new blade shearing champions Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, and Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, is expected to be a week later at the New Zealand Spring Shears in Waimate.

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In the meantime, with individual champion Oldfield having recently returned from shearing in Europe and the Falkland Islands, the pair will appear at a welcome home in Geraldine on Sunday.

New Zealand Merino champions in 2018, woolhandler Pagan Karauria and shearer Nathan Stratford. Photo / NZ Merino Champs
New Zealand Merino champions in 2018, woolhandler Pagan Karauria and shearer Nathan Stratford. Photo / NZ Merino Champs

Shearing sports throughout New Zealand in the 2019-2020 season are:

Oct 4-5:

New Zealand Merino Championships (shearing/woolhandling, PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championship Rd 1), at Alexandra.

Oct 11-12: Waimate Shears New Zealand Spring Shearing Championships (shearing/woolhandling/blade shearing, PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championship Rd 2), at Waimate.

Oct 19: Poverty Bay A and P Show (shearing/woolhandling), at Gisborne; Ellesmere A and P Show, at Leeston.

Oct 25: Great Raihania Shears, at Royal New Zealand A and P Show (shearing/woolhandling), at Hastings.

Oct 26: Northern A and P Show Shears(shearing/blade shearing), at Rangiora.

Nov 2: Wairarapa Spring Shears, at Clareville, Carterton; Ashburton A and P Show (shearing/blade shearing), at Ashburton.

Nov 9: Manawatu A and P Show (shearing/woolhandling), at Feilding,; Marlborough A and P Show (shearing), at Blenheim; Pleasant Point Gymkhana Shears (shearing), at Pleasant Point.

Nov 14-15: New Zealand Corriedale Championships (shearing/woolhandling/blade shearing, PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championship Rd 3), NZ Agricultural Show, Christchurch.

Nov 16: Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show Shears (shearing/woolhandling), at Waipukurau.

Nov 23: 125th Nelson A and P Show (shearing), at Nelson; West Otago A and P Show.

Nov 30: Taranaki Shears (shearing), at Stratford A and P Show.

Jan 11: Peninsula Duvauchelle Shears (shearing), at Akaroa.

Jan 17: Northern Southland Community Shears (shearing/ woolhandling), at Lumsden.

Jan 18: Kaikohe A.P. and H. Show (shearing), at Kaikohe; Wairoa A and P Show (shearing), at Wairoa; Golden Bay A and P Show (shearing), at Takaka; Southland Shears and NZ crossbred lambs championships (shearing/woolhandling), Winton A and P Show, at Winton.

Jan 19: Horowhenua Horowhenua Agricultural, Pastoral and Industrial Show (shearing), at Levin.

Jan 25: Taihape A and P Show(shearing/woolhandling), at Taihape; Tapawera Sports Shears (shearing), at Tapawera.

Jan 26: Agrodome Shears (shearing/woolhandling), Rotorua A and P Show, at Ngongotaha.

Jan 31: Dannevirke A and P Show (shearing/woolhandling), at Dannevirke.

Feb 1: North Kaipara A and P Show (shearing), at Paparoa; Rangitikei Shearing Sports(shearing/ woolhandling; PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championships, Rd 4), at Marton; Reefton Shears(shearing/blade shearing), Reefton Shears (shearing/blade shearing), Inangahua A and P Show, at Reefton.

Feb 6: Aria Waitangi Day Sports (shearing/woohandling), at Aria.

Feb 8: Northern Wairoa A and P Show (shearing), at Arapohue, Dargaville; Te Puke A and P Show (shearing), at Te Puke; Otago Shearing and Woolhandling Championships(shearing/woolhandling), at Balclutha.

Feb 14-15: Southern Shears (shearing/woolhandling), at Gore.

Feb 15: North Hokianga A and P Show (shearing), at Broadwood; Ohura Sports Shears (shearing), at Ohura; Murchison A and P Show (shearing), at Murchison.

Feb 16: Counties Shears (shearing), Franklin A and P Show, at Pukekohe.

Feb 28: Taumarunui Shears (shearing/woolhandling), at Taumarunui.

Feb 29: Apiti YFC Sports Shears (shearing and woolhandling), at Apiti; Kaikoura A and P Show (shearing), at Kaikoura.

Mar 1: Pahiatua Shears (shearing; PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championship Rd 5), at Mangaone Valley, Pahiatua.

Mar 3: Wairarapa Pre-Shears Woolhandling Championships (woolhandlng), at Riverside Farm, Mikimiki.

Mar 4-7: 60th Golden Shears International Championships (shearing /woolhandling/wool pressing), at Masterton.

Mar 7: Amuri A and P Show (shearing), at Rotherham.

Mar 14: Kumeu Shears (shearing), Kumeu Agricultural and Horticultural Show, at Kumeu; Cheviot A and P Show (shearing/woolhandling), at Cheviot; Mayfield A and P Show(shearing/blade shearing), at Mayfield.

Mar 15: Sefton Sports (shearing/blade shearing), at Sefton.

Mar 21: Warkworth A and P Show (shearing), at Warkworth; Methven A and P Show lamb shears (shearing), at Methven; Waimarino Rodeo Sports (shearing), at Raetihi.

Mar 22: Flaxbourne A and P Show (shearing), at Ward.

Mar 28: Waitomo Caves Shears (shearing), at Waitomo.

Apr 2-4: New Zealand Shears (shearing/woolhandling), at Te Kuiti.

Apr 4: Oxford A and P Show (shearing/blade shearing), at Oxford.

Apr 10-11: Northern Shears (shearing), Royal Easter Show, Auckland.

Apr 13: Mackenzie Shears New Zealand Lamb Shearing Championships (shearing/blade shearing), at Fairlie.