As Masterton prepares for the annual Golden Shears later this month – its busiest weekend of the year – organisers are already looking ahead to 2026, when the Wairarapa town will host the Golden Shears World Championship.
Golden Shears is the premier shearing and wool handling event in New Zealand and from this year it is partnering with WellingtonNZ, the regional economic development agency, to deliver a bigger and better world competition and spectator event in two years’ time. NZ last hosted the World Championships in 2012.
Golden Shears president Trish Stevens said WellingtonNZ’s help will be invaluable as the organisation prepares to deliver a world-class event that will be the largest competition held in NZ.
“Over the years we have gone from a small group of volunteers to an event that requires more than 150 people to ensure it runs smoothly. WellingtonNZ’s input will enable us to improve our systems and processes and ensure we are as fit for purpose as the shearers, wool handlers and pressers that enter the competition.”
WellingtonNZ events and experiences general manager Heidi Morton said the organisation is excited to partner with Golden Shears and help grow the event as it looks forward to 2026.
“This is an iconic event for the region – and the wider rural community. The Golden Shears team does an incredible job attracting people from around the country, providing the wider Wellington region with an important economic boost.
“WellingtonNZ looks forward to working with the Golden Shears team to help grow the event in years to come and enhance the economic benefits it brings.”
Held at Masterton’s War Memorial Stadium, Golden Shears this year takes place over three days starting on February 29, with about 400 people expected to enter across three disciplines: shearing, wool handling and wool pressing.
The most prestigious event is the open shearing category on the final evening, when fitness, precision technique and rhythm combine to produce an action-packed, highly competitive and super-fast competition.
Stevens said that while male competitors outnumber women by more than 2:1, these days more women than ever enter the shearing competition and more men are entering the wool handling categories.
“Technological advances since the competition began 60 years ago have transformed shearing from an arduous farm task to an elite sport,” she said.