Te Kuiti shearer Kerri-Jo Te Huia has made an assured start to her record bid in a woolshed east of Eketahuna with a tally of 101 in the two hours.
Shearing at Otapawa Station and targeting a record for the most ewes shorn by a woman in a nine-hour-day under the rules of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, Te Huia started at 5am and by the break at 7am was on target for at least 450 by the time the day ends at 5pm.
There is currently no record, although Maureen Hyatt shore 522 ewes in the Southland 25 years ago in a record which was in 1983 dispatched to a closed register after a restructuring of shearing record rules.
Former lambshearing record holder Jills Angus Burney said from the 10-stand woolshed, in the Tiraumea district: "They're not easy ewes. They're strong-framed, and heaps of wool."
At a wool-weigh before the judges appointed to oversee the attempt, wool from 10 of the ewes averaged 3.698kg per ewe, comfortably above the requirement of 3kg a sheep, meaning at least 1.6 tonnes of wool will be shorn during the day.
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The shearing resumes at 8am, with the rest of the day comprising four runs of 1hr 45mins each, morning and afternoon tea break of 30 minutes each, and a one-hour lunch break.