The National Shearing Circuit finals will now be held at the New Zealand Shears in Te Kuiti next month.
The finals were in danger of becoming a non-event this year after the cancellation of the Golden Shears in Masterton, due to Covid-19 alert level changes.
The move was announced today by Circuit committee chairman Warren White, after an agreement was reached with Golden Shears representatives and the New Zealand Shears - which was able to consider the matter at its regular meeting this week.
Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan congratulated the Circuit, Golden Shears and New Zealand Shears organisers for agreeing and "making it happen."
Fagan said it wouldn't have happened without the support of merinos provider and Central Otago breeder Alan Paterson.
It followed the cancellation of the Pahiatua Shears, which is usually the last qualifying-round host of the Circuit. They were to have been held last Saturday.
The Golden Shears, (which would have started yesterday and ended tomorrow), included the 12-shearer Circuit semi-finals and the final.
The New Zealand Shears Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, a casualty of last year's Covid-19 lockdown, are to be held on April 8-10, with the open shearing championship heats on the Friday, now replacing the lost Pahiatua round and to be followed by the semi-finals and final – making a busy two days for the country's top shears, with the NZ Shears Circuit and Open Championships already on the programme.
Both the Pahiatua Shears and the New Zealand Shears Open Championships' are shorn on second-shear sheep, one of the five wool types in the series, which had its difficulties earlier in the season with the cancellation of traditional opener, the New Zealand Merino Championships in Alexandra.
White's Waimate Shears then picked up the challenge, staging the fine wool round, as the New Zealand Winter Comb Championship at the Waimate Shears, along with its own round on long strong wool.
The third round went ahead at the Canterbury Shears New Zealand Corriedales Championships, which were held at Marble Point Station, after the cancellation of the New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch.
The fourth round was on lambs at Marton four weeks ago.
The series is currently led by Hawke's Bay-based Scotland international Gavin Mutch, who won the world title in Masterton in 2012, and three years later became the first and only shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears open final.
No shearer from overseas has won the Circuit, which marks its 50th year next year and is based on the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown, first contested in 1972-1973.
It has been known mainly by various sponsor names, most latterly as the PGG Wrightson Wool Circuit from 2003 to 2020.
Reigning two-time champion and Marlborough shearer Angus Moore, currently third, and one of 10 National Circuit winners from the South Island, won't be defending the title, having set his sights on the Golden Shears, with other plans for his shearing business and family for the rest of the season.
National Shearing Circuit points and placings after four of the five qualifying rounds:
Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Dannevirke), 31pts, 1; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill), 29pts, 2; Angus Moore (Seddon), 28pts, 3; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) and Brett Roberts (Mataura), 24pts, 4 equal; Ringakaha Paewai (Gore), 20pts, 6; John Kirkpatrick (Pakipaki), 18pts, 7 Troy Pyper (Cheviot), Axle Reid (Taihape) and Leon Samuels (Invercargill), 17pts, 8 equal; Simon Goss (Mangamahu), 14pts, 11; Matene Mason (Masterton), 13pts, 12; James Ruki (Te Kuiti), 12pts, 13; Aaron Haynes (Feilding), 11pts, 14; Hemi Braddick (Eketahuna), Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) and David Gordon (Masterton), 10pts, 15 equal; Duncan Higgins (Blenheim) and Jimmy Samuels (Marton), 9pts, 18 equal; Lionel Taumata (Gore), 8pts, 20; Paul Hodges (Geraldine), 6pts, 21; Chris Vickers (Palmerston), 4pts, 22; Sarah Higgins (Blenheim), Alex Smith (Rakaia), Ricci Stevens (Napier) and Phil Wedd (Silverdale), 3pts, 23 equal; David Gower (Stratford) and Tamihana Karauria (Alexandra), 2pts, 27 equal.