National | Public Interest Journalism

Shearing in the blood for 10 year old Wairua Edmonds

He first shore a lamb five years ago - now, at the age of 10, Wairua Edmonds, of Masterton, has shorn at the Golden Shears. Photo / Pete Nikolaison

A 10-year-old shearer added another layer to the multi-generational whanau involvement in the wool industry when he shore in the novice heats as the 2023 Golden Shears got underway today in Masterton.

Among the 51 novice shearers, and among more than 370 competitors at the three-day, annual shearing sports fest, is Wairua Edmonds, of Masterton, in competition for the first time, and the fourth generation of the family spanning almost all of the 61 years of the competition.

His dad, Levi, shore at the Golden Shears, as did koro Dave, and great-grandfather Milton Edmonds.

Dave Edmonds highlighted the big step up, recalling how he made his one-and-only competition appearance, at the Golden Shears, in 1977.

“I was too shy,” he recalled of that big day. “I was too frightened.”

He almost made the top 12 for the senior semi-finals and believes he would have had if he had not got the initial stage fright but, despite the potential, he never shore in competition again, although 46 years later and at the age of 68, he is still shearing regularly in the woolshed.

Despite his own trepidation back in the day, it was he who gave young Masterton Primary School pupil Wairua the push to have a go on shearing’s biggest stage.

It was a promising start, for, while missing out on a place in the top 12 for semi-finals later in the day and being placed 43rd overall, he was among the 20 who each shore their single sheep in under three minutes.

“It was good,” he said, apparently much less flustered than preceding generations.

After all, he’s got a bit of experience. He first shore a full lamb about five years ago.

Public Interest Journalism