Gore man shows sharp skills in boning contest

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The secret of doing a top-notch job of boning out a lamb carcass into different cuts of meat is having a razor-sharp knife, Gore man Martini Mihaka says.

Mr Mihaka should know, as he recently finished second in the lamb category during the nationwide Silver Fern Farms Annual Best Boning Competition.

He works as a trainer in the boning department at Silver Fern’s Finegand meat processing plant, and was one of two finalists who had been selected after competing in semifinals earlier in the year.

Mr Mihaka, who is of Te Arawa descent, said it was the first time he had entered the competition.

“I was pleased with myself,” he said.

He finished less than a minute behind the winner, favouring doing a good job rather than finishing fastest.

“Speed and quality is key but that’s how I lost.

“I took a bit of extra time.”

Boning out meat did not seem like work to him.

“I love it .. it’s more of a passion to me.

“It’s not really a job.

“I’m like a hands-on type of guy.

“It’s creative .. it’s more of an art.”

Mr Mihaka had been boning out meat for about eight years.

Knife sharpness was an important part of boning out a carcass.

“Learning to maintain a sharp knife is key.

“You really want to work with your knife more than the meat because your hands and wrists will be sore,” he said.

A sandstone was used to put a sharp edge on the knife and then a steel to maintain the finish.