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PM pips the master!
TE KUITI shearing legend Sir
David Fagan came out of retire-
ment on Saturday for a one-on-one
showdown with Prime Minister Bill
English at the World Shearing and
Woolhandling Championships in
In front of a large crowd at the
ILT Stadium Southland the pair
were neck and neck until the final
blow, when Mr English caused the
biggest upset of the four-day event,
by being first to finish the one lamb
challenge and defeating the five-
time world champion by less than
Broadcast live around the world,
Sir David who retired from com-
petitive shearing in 2015 with 642
open wins under his belt, was gra-
cious in defeat at the hands of the
“He won it fair and square,” said
Sir David with a smile.
“He did very well – he even got a
sweat up, which is great.”
Mr English, a former Dipton
farmer, joked he was “just getting
warmed up” but also conceded Sir
David may not have performed at
his fleece flying best.
“I shore one a couple of years
ago at the Southern Fieldays and I
reckon it would be 15 years before
that, so that’s two in the last 15
years,” he said.
“I’ve just got such deep respect for
the skill and the work ethic and the
athleticism of these shearers.
“I always admired them since
I was a young guy, and actually
hearing about David when he was
18 or 19, so it’s just fantastic to
have the opportunity to be here, to
get up on the board and show re-
spect to what these guys do.”
He also praised the event and its
“It’s brilliant to have it here in
Invercargill and great to see the huge
public support. The stadium here is
spectacular, just right for this kind
of event and the public have got
“But of course, it all comes down
to the brilliance of these shearers
and the woolhandlers and what
they do for the sheep industry in
New Zealand and for our export
industries, and that’s important to
me as Prime Minister.
“I’ve followed the sport and have
had some of my family involved as
pretty good shearers and one of my
sisters has been a physio for world
records, so I’ve always kept an eye
on it and it’s such a display of total
excellence, with these top shearers.”
After claiming victory over Sir
David, Mr English stayed to watch
the world’s best compete for the six
individual and team machine shear-
ing, blade shearing and woolhand-
ling titles later that night.
Also in attendance throughout
the championships was Waitomo
mayor Brian Hanna.
Waving the flag for the ‘Shearing
Capital of the World’ he congratu-
lated everyone from the Waitomo
district who either helped organise
the event or took part on the board.
“Events like that show that we
really are the Shearing Capital of
the World especially when you see
the influence we have right from the
organisational level with David and
John [Fagan brothers representing
Shearing Sports NZ], New Zealand
team manager Mike Barnett [from
Aria] and Todd Oliver [also from
Aria] who judged in the final,” says
“Another of the highlights was James Fagan
[formerly of Te Kuiti now living in Raglan] who
doesn’t shear nowadays, he’s a fulltime farmer and
he made the All Nations final and shore brilliantly.
“It was a real gutsy effort to make the best six
[Fagan finished 5th] and to cap it off Jack Fagan
[of Te Kuiti] won the open speedshear which I
thought was quite outstanding.
“So all our team played their part, even Mickey
[Alan MacDonald from Piopio] was involved
sorting all the sheep so I was really proud to be
there and to fly the flag for our district.”
FULL COVERAGE BACK PAGE
PRIME Minister Bill English (left) defeated Te Kuiti shearing legend Sir David Fagan in a one-on-one showdown at the
World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill on Saturday.
FORMER Dipton farmer and now New Zealand
Prime Minister Bill English shows of his
shearing skills during the World Shearing and
Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill.
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