Western Australian shearer Damien Boyle won his eighth New Zealand Merino Shearing and Woolhandling Championship open shearing title in 10 years in Alexandra on Saturday.

His wife Kristy, son Zac (8) and daughter Abby (13) were in the audience.

Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, won the open merino woolhandling championship title for the fourth time.

Merino championships start new shearing sports season
NZ Merino Shears: Aussies turn the tables on Kiwis again


She also competed in the senior shearing section.

Canterbury-based Southland shearer Troy Pyper was second and Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, was third in the open final.

Amy Lee Ferguson, of Alexandra, placed second in the open woolhandling and Candy Hiri, of Gore, was third.

The New Zealand Merino Shearing Society hosted the woolhandling and shearing competitions at Alexandra's Molyneux Stadium on Friday and Saturday.

Fifty-nine shearers competed in two grades and 55 woolhandlers in four grades.

Society president Greg Stuart said he was pleased with the how the competition went and the numbers attending the open woolhandling and shearing finals on Saturday evening.

"It was a good turnout, and the stadium was full," he said.

The Perth New Zealand Merino Challenge was won by the Australian team by one point.


Alexandra shearer Colin "Mouse" O'Neill's team won the teams event.

Boyle brought his family along to watch him compete. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara
Boyle brought his family along to watch him compete. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara

The senior shearing title was won by Duncan Higgins, of Havelock.

The top junior woolhandler and winner of the Joanne Kumeroa Memorial Trophy was Cheyenne Howden, of Feilding.

Sunnie Te Whare, Ohai, was second and Amber Poihipi, of Ohai, third.

The winner of the senior woolhandling final and the Buck Gloag Memorial Challenge Trophy was Aiesha Thompson, of Napier.

Destiny Paikea, of Heriot, was placed second and Whati Mikaere Turipa, of Gore, third.


Stuart said the shearers were judged on time, speed and quality of shearing.

"Merino shearing is more technique shearing rather than out and out speed."

Earnscleugh Station and Northburn Station supplied the sheep.

More than 100 volunteers helped organise and run the two-day competition.

Thirty-five judges as well as referees, pen judges, woolhandlers, pressers and six to eight pen boys were required for the event.

"It cost between $40,000 and $50,000 to run the competition. That is why we ask for sponsorship," Stuart said.


The society also made donations to the local football and kayaking clubs, which helped dismantle the stands and flooring yesterday morning.

"A few years ago we were told by the town businesses that this [Merino Shears] weekend was more profitable to the town than the Blossom Festival weekend."

Competitors, their families and supporters, stayed in local accommodation and bought meals and shopped in town.