A new competitive shearing series that kicks off at Christchurch’s New Zealand Agricultural Show in early November offers increased prize money and will eventually be seen by a global audience.
Event manager Hugh de Lacy Snr says the Southern Series, which starts on Friday November 11, will take the sport of sheep-shearing to a global audience and help promote wool as a sustainable, natural fibre.
“Not only will competitive shearers benefit financially from hugely increased recognition as supreme athletes, but the global exposure will highlight the relevance of wool in the battle against climate change, by reducing or eliminating the immense damage done to the environment by oil-derived fibres,” De Lacy said.
Over the next two years, the Southern Series will be expanded first into a tour of NZ competitions, and then into a global tour taking in shows in Europe, North America and Australasia, with events beamed live on television worldwide.
The series will help to make it more financially viable to compete at the highest level, De Lacy said.
The Southern Shears concept has been three decades in the making, he said, the evolution of an idea from Pio Pio’s John Fagan, elder brother of shearing great Sir David Fagan.
John Fagan, himself a former shearing champion, was a founder of Shearing Sports NZ, the sport’s official administrative and rule-setting body, and saw that template adopted by shearing competition organisers around the world.
Growing global demand from television networks for new and exciting spectator sports means Fagan’s dream of taking the sport global is about to be realised.
NZ Agricultural Show general manager Tracy Ahern said the Southern Series is going to increase the exposure of shearing.
“That’s going to grow, and to be able to take that to New Zealand and to the world is a huge advantage for us, showcasing the Agriculture Park so that people when they come to Christchurch have that on their places-to-go list is really important. We’d like to be the home of international shearing one day,” she said.