A Hawke's Bay shearer is packing two days' shearing into one to support a record-breaking shearing mate who was badly hurt in a quadbike accident in Southland seven weeks ago.
Raised in West Australia, from a Mohaka family, now living at Tangoio and working for Napier contractor Brendan Mahony, 36-year-old Ariki Hawkins plans to shear more than 1000 lambs at the Lee family property on Waipunga Rd, between Napier and Taupō on Tuesday, and a bit of Wednesday.
He will start at 7pm on Tuesday and finish at 5am on Wednesday, which with the regulated breaks and two-hour on Tuesday evening for tea "…and a bit of a rest," it will be the equivalent of two eight-hour days back-to-back.
The target is 1000 lambs, and at least $6000 for the cause of shearer and farmer Darryn Gutsell and his family, including the wages from the big shear and donations through a Givealittle page (Big Day for Darryn).
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Having grown-up with the tougher fine-woolled merinos, Hawkins is yet to shear 500 in a day, but said, while nipping into Napier on Sunday before heading out to crutch the lambs, if he hasn't got the 1000 by 5am on Wednesday he'll keep going until he has.
It's only a few months since Hawkins got to meet Gutsell, while shearing for Ranfurly contractor John Stringer, but he had already come to know the man as a shearing legend with a reputation for helping others without question.
In 2004, Gutsell sheared 662 lambs during a six-stand record in Southland, and had since worked to help others break records and on other shearing big days out for charitable causes.
But Gutsell, a father of three, has a struggle of his own as he tries to recover from suffering a fractured skull and other injuries after the accident on his farm.
"He's a determined bugger, but there are things he can't do yet," said Hawkins. "A lot of people have been helping out on the farm and other things. I'm doing this because I'm up here, and can't get down there."