Shearer Tamehana Karauria works in Central Otago. He's one of 800 shearers, wool handlers and farmers who've signed up for online, video-based learning platform Tahi Ngātahi. The initiative aims to reduce workplace injuries by 30 per cent.
Tamehana first picked up the hand piece working with his family in Gisborne and has been in the industry ever since.
What's a good week look like for you?
As long as the sun's shining, the sheep are dry and we're at work, I'm in my happy place.
How does Tahi Ngātahi work?
It is all done through the Tahi Ngātahi website. You watch the videos and answer the questions. Some of the questions can be tricky, so you've got to watch the videos properly.
How did you find time?
I fitted it in on my days off. It was easy. Look, I'm a busy man myself, I like to be out in the hills hunting and out on the beach diving. But when you've got a day off where you're doing nothing, you may as well just sit down and do Tahi Ngātahi.
How did it benefit you?
For me it was just a good refresher. A lot of the things in those videos you actually forget about, so I've used it as a tool to remember little things that I may forgotten during my career. It's really good to be honest with yourself like that.
A lot of the videos are about avoiding common injuries like strains and sprains. How do you keep in shape?
By eating the right foods and going to the gym to strengthen myself so I'm preventing an injury from happening.
The gym has actually worked out for me. It took me years to get there, but I think once you get to 30 years old you start waking up and realising that your time is up is in the next 20 years, so just make the most of it and make it as easy on your body as you can.
Do you do warm-ups before you hit the board?
Yes, stretches and all that. Also on days off, you have to be stretching. If you've had a week off and you go to work without stretching, nine times out of 10 you are going to pull a muscle, doesn't matter where it is.
Are there many hazards to watch for in the woolshed?
Yeah there are. Steps, trips, hand piece lock-ups, presses, handling the sheep. You need to have an eye out for things that don't look right. If you see something, get the farmer or the ganger to do something about it.
Tahi Ngātahi has introduced a warrant of fitness for sheds. What do you think?
Yeah, it's a good idea and every shed should have it. I really appreciate what Tahi Ngātahi is trying to accomplish for us. It's a really handy tool to have. I think it will help out everyone in this industry. No word of a lie.