Shearing competition enters new era

mage from the Golden Shears final. Six shearers are competing on stage  - each with a sheep at their feet and an adjudicator looking on.

That’s when the Wairarapa town will host the Golden Shears World Championship  — an event that will attract considerably more competitors than the annual event, many of whom have not competed on the world stage before.  

Golden Shears is the premier shearing and woolhandling event in New Zealand and from this year it is partnering with WellingtonNZ, the regional economic development agency, to deliver a bigger and better competition and spectator event in two years’ time. 

Golden Shears president Trish Stevens says WellingtonNZ’s help will be invaluable as the organisation prepares to deliver a world-class event that will be the largest competition held in New Zealand 

“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 says 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 29 February 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 where fitness, precision technique and rhythm combine to produce an action-packed, highly competitive and super-fast competition. 

Trish Stevens says 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. 

New Zealand last hosted the Golden Shears World Championships in 2012. 

“Technological advances since the competition began 60 years ago have transformed shearing from an arduous farm task to an elite sport,” Trish Stevens says. 

Tickets, which start at $23 per adult and $10.25 per child for a day session, can be bought in advance from or spectators can just turn up on the day. Family passes are also available for $43.50.

“This year we want to encourage people to drive over the hill from Wellington or down from Palmerston North and Wanganui — or anywhere in between — to come to Golden Shears for a fun, family day out,” Heidi Morton says.

Date published: 8 February 2024