The next generation of Mataura shearers is starting to show its class.

At the Southern Shears event in Gore on Saturday Dre Roberts (17) won the intermediate final and Cody Waihape (18) won the junior.

The cousins are part of the Waihape whanau, whose grandfather Cliff runs a shearing gang.

Dre said this was his first win in the intermediate section.

‘‘I was quite rapt to win the local show so it was good.’’

He started shearing about two and a-half years ago and was in his second year of competing although, like Cody, he had grown up spending time in shearing sheds.

‘‘I’ve always loved shearing since I was a little kid.’’

Dre’s brother Brett competes in the open shearing events.

Cody said he started shearing about seven months ago after he left school.

He was not sure what he wanted to do so his father Cody, who runs the Platinum Shearing gang, suggested he start shearing until he decided what to do.

‘‘Now I just want to be a shearer.

‘‘I’ll definitely stick with it.’’

This was his second win after the Otago Shears in Balclutha last week. The 57th running of the event was held at the Gore A& P Showgrounds.

Winning form . . . Mataura shearer Dre Roberts (17) displays his winning form in the final of the Southern Shears intermediate section.
Cut above . . . Mataura shearers Dre Roberts (left) and Cody Waihape celebrate winning the intermediate and junior final respectively at the Southern Shears held in Gore on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The woolhandling competition was held on Friday and the shearing on Saturday.

Nova Kumeroa, of Mataura, was second in the woolhandling open event while Autumn Waihape, of Mataura, and Saskia Tuhakaraina, of Gore, were first and second in the senior.

Shears committee chairman Willie Hewitson said Southland competitors did well at the event.

‘‘It’s really cool to see local shearers doing well.’’

The event was wellsupported by the industry as about 90 shearers and 70 woolhandlers took part.

Entries were up on previous years especially in the woolhandling competition, he said.

Romney sheep for the woolhandling competition and the South Island Shearer of the Year were provided by committee member Raymond Brock.

Wantwood Station provided Romney ewes for the shearing competition.

About 1500 sheep were crutched for the shearing competition the week before by Platinum Shearing staff.

The sheep were in ‘‘fantastic’’ condition for the competition.

‘‘They’re pretty free-moving, open, full shearing sheep.’’

The warm temperatures meant the grease in the wool lifted off the sheep’s back and made it easier to shear, Mr Brock said.

It took 11 committee members to organise the event.

‘‘It is a big job.’’

It was a full-on three days with speed shears events held in the evenings before and after the competition.

Both shearers work for the Platinum gang and for their grandfather.

The men were travelling to the North Island this week to take part in more competitions before the Golden Shears in Masterton from March 2-4.

In the open competition, Invercargill took out the top two placings.

Leon Samuels, who won the event the last time it was held in 2021, was first and Nathan Stratford was second.