Master woolhandler Joel Henare has clocked up another milestone at the New Zealand Corriedale Woolhandling Championships in Christchurch.
Henare is now only the second person to complete a treble of the three pre-Christmas national open woolhandling titles.
The 28-year-old Gisborne woolshed maestro yesterday added the Canterbury Shears' New Zealand Corriedale title to the NZ Merino title he won in Alexandra on October 1 and the Spring Shears long strong wool title he won in Waimate a week later.
Henare has now won 123 open finals.
Alexandra woolhandler and fellow world champion Pagan Karauria was the runner-up on each of Henare's last three wins.
Two years ago Karauria was the first to claim the treble.
She had to settle for second-best yesterday in trying to win the Canterbury title for the third year in a row.
There was still plenty to savour for Central Otago's Karauria crew, with Pagan's 16-year-old sister Charis Morrell claiming her first senior woolhandling title - before heading home to Alexandra for her Dunstan High School prizegiving in the morning.
Morrell's win adds to three junior titles on lambswool over the last two seasons.
Karauria said her teen sister put a lot of work into school, as well as her woolhandling competition training.
"Charis has been training a lot for competition because she has school," she said.
"Some days she and dad will go out either in the morning, after school or on a day off to handle 30-50 sheep where she can develop her own system and rhythm.
"Nowadays I go out to help train her to try to teach her to teach herself and find what works for her."
Karauria herself is a world teams title winner, in France in 2019, and winner of the New Zealand Shears open final in Te Kuiti last April.
She felt proud watching Morrell's ribbons being handed out yesterday, with dad and former shearing champion and world record holder Dion Morrell in charge.
"It was hard to hold the tears back in our row during prize giving."
In the spirit of the sport's whanaungatanga and manaakitanga, Henare could also take pride in the achievement.
On Wednesday he was chief instructor at a high-performance run by Elite Wool Industry Training, and his students included Corriedales junior final winner Jess Rose Toa, of Ashburton - and Charis Morrell.
With Covid-19 Level 2 conditions in place, some potential competitors were absent and the day's events attracted 34 competitors across the grades, including 17 in the open class.
Today will be devoted to shearing competitions, with open, senior, intermediate, junior and blades titles at stake, as well as the Canterbury All-Breeds Circuit final.
The open class heats constitute the third round of the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit, from which at least three competitors will be missing, due to alert level 3 restrictions in the North Island.
Defending Corriedales champion and 2012 world champion Gavin Mutch will also be absent.
Mutch had to pull out of the Circuit before it started due to shoulder injuries.
He's now intent on recovering full fitness in time to return to his native Scotland to try to win selection again for the national team in the next World Championships at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh in 2023.
The favourite to win the open title tomorrow is Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford, winner in 2016 and a nine-times-finalist in the last 10 years.
Geraldine shearer and 2019 world blade shearing champion Allan Oldfield, who now lives in Hutt Valley, returns to the South Island to defend the Golden Blades title he won for the first time last year.
His preparation this week included shearing alpaca.
Results of the New Zealand Corriedale woolhandling championships at the Canterbury Shears in Christchurch on Thursday, November 11, 2021
Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 185.63pts, 1; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 214.244pts, 2; Nova Kumeroa Elers (Mataura) 245.88pts, 3.
Senior final: Charis Morrell (Alexandra) 215.406pts, 2; Tamara Marshall (Tuakau) 243.48pts, 2; Krome Elers (Mataura) 251.156pts, 3.
Junior final: Jess Rose Toa (Ashburton) 110.818pts, 1; Emma Martin (Gore) 265.032pts, 2; Trish Booth (Christchurch) 366.95pts, 3