Former Turakina Valley shepherd Steph Tweed has become the first female in the 130-year history of the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Championships to win a national title taking out the straight hunt.

It was the highlight of the North Island finals and New Zealand championships held at Ohaeawai, Northland with Tweed, 27, and Grit winning the straight hunt title with a decisive 3.75 point clear margin.

The Wanganui Centre can't claim Steph and Grit as its own but share and applaud her success.

Grit was the top huntaway in the Wanganui Centre in 2017 when Tweed was working on Papanui Station in the Turakina Valley.

Advertisement

She said five-year-old Grit was a "once in a lifetime dog".

Tweed is from Waitahuna where her father Roger is a noted triallist.

She is currently working as a stock manager on a North Canterbury property.

Three current Wanganui Centre competitors made the finals of the North Island and New Zealand Championships.

Mangamahu Club member Alex Matthews and Bonnie, who were the defending champions, placed sixth in the North Island zig-zag hunt and third in the New Zealand champs. Matthew McMurray with Jed (Parapara/Makirikiri) was seventh in the North Island and national championships in the zig-zag hunt. Josh Brennan with his dog Rock (Rangiwahia Club) was seventh in the North Island and New Zealand straight hunt.

The Wanganui Centre had no finalists in either heading event.

Graham Wellington from the Parapara/Makirikiri Club made the leader board with three dogs - Seamus, Murphy and our current top centre heading dog Rachel who was pushed off on the last day of the qualifying rounds.

It has been a stellar month for female trialists with Jo Waugh and Guy, from Gisborne, getting the ball rolling and being the first woman to take out an Island title when she won the South Island zig-zag hunt at Hanmer. Tweed was third in that event with Grit's daughter, Lou, and Rebecca Baynes from Wairoa was sixth with Jazz.

Advertisement