A New Zealander who became Australia's only world woolhandling champion is back in the shirt of her adopted nation for two test matches against New Zealand next year.
As a result of her selection, as runner-up in Saturday's Australian championship final in Dubbo, NSW, Aroha Garvin will be making a sentimental trip back for a transtasman test in March at the Golden Shears in Masterton. That's where she won the Golden Shears Open woolhandling title in 1988, 1990 and 1991, while based mainly in South Otago working for contractor Ron Davis.
By the end of 1995 Garvin was settled in West Australia, but she still feels the allure of the Goldies.
"I was going to come anyway, because it's the 60th anniversary Golden Shears, and it's the first one without Koro", said Garvin, referring to Koro Mullins, the stadium and live-streaming commentator who died unexpectedly in September.
From Raetihi in the Central North Island, Garvin won her world title in South Africa in 2000, having taken a five-year stand-down before switching the competition allegiances.
She competed in six transtasman woolhandling tests from 1999 to 2012, amazingly including five of Australia's 10 wins in a series otherwise dominated by New Zealand, which had its 33rd win in Dubbo on Friday.
Her single transtasman defeat was at the Golden Shears in Masterton in 2003, but she was in a winning Australian team in her only other test in New Zealand, at the Canterbury Show in Christchurch in 2011.
She was back in Masterton for the 2012 World Championships, in which she was third behind New Zealanders Joel Henare and Joanne Kumeroa in the individual final, and runner-up to New Zealand in the teams event in which she partnered with New South Wales woolhandler Racheal Hutchison, her teammate again for next year's tests in Masterton and Bendigo, Vic.
At 55, mother of two sons and a daughter, with "about" eight grandchildren, she and partner Greg McAtamney, from Ranfurly in Central Otago, live in York, about 95km east of Perth, running Progress Shearing, which is currently shearing about 100,000 sheep a year and employing over 60 staff at peak in the spring.
The three-man machine shearing team for the transtasman series will be missing one of Australia's longer-standing national sports representatives in Jason Wingfield, of Cobram, Victoria, who was 5th in the Australian open machine shearing final.
Wingfield has shorn 21 tests against New Zealand since making his debut in Masterton in 2003, his 13 wins including the five-in-a-row sequence which was completed also in Dubbo on Friday.
It was a big weekend in Dubbo for Garvin and her West Australia teammates, scoring a cleansweep of the three teams titles, Garvin being joined by brother Joe to take the woolhandling title and the pair being joined by shearers Damien Boyle and Jeff Banks to win the combined shearing and woolhandling title.
The Australian team for the 2020 transtasman tests is machine shearers Daniel McIntyre (NSW), Nathan Meaney (South Australia) and Damien Boyle (West Australia), blade shearers Johnathon Dalla (South Australia) and Ken French (Victoria), woolhandlers Racheal Hutchison (NSW) and Aroha Garvin (West Australia), and blade shearers Johnathon Dalla (South Australia) and Ken French (Vic).
RESULTS from the Australian National Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Dubbo, NSW, on November 28-30, 2019:
Open final (12 sheep): Daniel McIntyre (NSW) 12min 24.35sec, 54.468pts, 1; Nathan Meaney (South Australia) 11min 34.43sec, 55.138pts, 2; Damien Boyle (West Australia) 13min 5.35sec, 55.684pts, 3; Sam Mackrill (Vic) 12min 35.31sec, 57.849pts, 4; Jason Wingfield (Vic) 12min 21.61sec, 64.664pts, 5; Luke Foster (NSW) 13min 30.71sec, 66.202pts, 6.
Blades final (3 sheep): John Dalla (South Australia) 14min 42.27sec, 52.45pts, 1; Ken French (Vic) 17min 8.53sec, 69.09pts, 1; Andrew Murray (NSW) 17min 18.9sec, 76.61pts, 3; John Burns (NSW) 19min 2.36sec, 82.45pts, 4; Malcolm Griffiths (Vic) 18min 4.23sec, 86.88pts, 5; Jim Murray (NSW) 21min 57.41sec, 93.2pts, 6.
Open final: Racheal Hutchison (NSW) 20.445pts, 1; Aroha Garvin (West Australia) 23.532pts, 2; Kellie Hazel (Tas) 25.184pts, 3; Mark Purcell (Vic) 26.076pts, 4; Angela Wakeley (NSW) 26.511pts, 5; Alexander Schoff (Qld) 26.57pts, 6. Teams:
Shearing (3 sheep each): West Australia (Damian Boyle 5min 11.1sec, 24.22pts; Jeff Banks 4min 37.53sec, 27.88pts), 52.1pts, 1; New South Wales (Luke Foster 3min 52.41pts; Wayne Hosie 4min 24.14sec, 28.54pts) 54.16pts, 2; Queensland (Phil Schoff 6min 19.4sec, 33.97pts; Jason Schafer 5min 46.37sec, 39.65pts) 73.62pts, 3.
Woolhandling: West Australia (Aroha Garvin, Jo Garvin) 20.42pts, 1; New South Wales (Racheal Hutchison, Angela Wakeley) 24.67pts, 2; Queensland (Bruce Lines, Alexanda Schoff) 26.56pts, 3.
Shearing and Woolhandling: West Australia 72.52pts, 1; New South Wales 78.83pts, 2; Queensland 100.18pts, 3.