WORLD record-breaking New Zealand shearer Kerri-Jo Te Huia has set the standard for other top female shearers in establishing a woman’s nine-hour strong wool ewes record of 452 this week.
Kerri-Jo Te Huia’s brother Stacey said his sister had “thrown down the gauntlet” by setting the record on Monday, despite the heat and mugginess of the Otapawa Station wool shed in the Tiraumea district east of Eketahuna in northern Wairarapa.
Kerri-Jo also holds an eight-hour lamb record of 507, set in a King Country shed in January 2012. She became the first woman to hold two records simultaneously in 34 years.
Stacey Te Huia also holds two records and said it was up to other women to now challenge the nine-hour record, which had no previous claimant under the current rules of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.
A tally of 522 was set by Maureen Hyatt near Mossburn in the South Island in 1982, but it’s been hidden in a closed register after the restructuring of records rules a year later.
Te Huia actually shore 457 today, but five were rejected by judges Arwyn Jones, of Wales, North Island officials Ian Buchanan and Bart Hadfield, and South Island judge Robert McLaren.
Their decisions highlighted the tough rules which have to be met in ensuring the quality of the shearing and protection of the sheep, which were estimated to weigh 65-70kg each and which produced an average of about 3.7kg each of wool.
Starting at 5am, and with no one else shearing on the 10-stand board, Te Huia was credited with 101 in the two hours to breakfast, and successive 1hr 45min run totals of 90, 87, 86 and 88 to the finish at 5pm. The judges had rejected one in each of the first three runs, and two in the run after lunch. None were rejected in the run to the end, although Te Huia had a quality warning in the last hour.
Former multiple record-holder John Fagan said it was a good effort; Te Huia seeming to enjoy the tough conditions, with temperatures of about 28deg and cloudy to overcast conditions outside throughout the day.
Former women’s lamb shearing record holder Jills Angus Burney said Te Huia was shearing as quick as 45 seconds on the good sheep, but stretching to about 90 seconds on the more “cotty” ewes in the mob. Te Huia averaged just under 70.9 seconds for each sheep caught, shorn and dispatched.
It was the first of two record attempts expected this summer, with Southland shearer Leon Samuels set for a January 29 challenge to the men’s eight-hour ewes record of 644 set by former world and current Golden Shears and New Zealand champion Rowland Smith in England last July.
Source: Shearing Sports New Zealand.