Mataura woolhandler Maiden Elers has dreams of competing internationally again as she takes part in the shearing and woolhandling circuit this season.
The 29-year-old woolhandler competed at the Northern Southland Community Shears on Friday and came second in the senior event.
The 41st running of the event was held in the Selbie family woolshed near Lumsden.
The woolhandling was held in the morning and the shearing in the afternoon.
Ms Elers said she was part of the Cook Islands team when it competed at the World Shearing Championships in Invercargill in 2017.
She could not attend the event when it was held in France in 2019 because she was pregnant, but was hoping to travel to this year’s event in Scotland in June.
Not going to the 2019 event had made her “determined not to be pregnant this time around”.
The shearers and woolhandlers who qualified to be part of the team lived in Australia or New Zealand.
“There’s no sheep in the Cook Islands.”
Her family had been involved in the industry since her late grandfather, Bill, started a shearing business in Mataura in the 1970s.
“We wouldn’t be in the shearing industry if it wasn’t for my papa.”
Nowadays her mother, Tina, and uncle Jimmy-Joe ran the business.
“It’s a big family affair.”
She qualified to represent the Cook Islands because her grandfather was of Cook Island descent and was adopted into a Hawke’s Bay Maori family when he was a baby.
When she had a babysitter, the mother of three worked in the shearing sheds.
“We’ve got a big family so we all help out when we can and make it work.”
She was “passionate” about the industry which she had been part of since she was young.
“It’s my life. It’s just in the blood.”
Shears treasurer Jenny Campbell said entry numbers were more than double on last year, which had been low because of Covid.
‘‘It’s nice to have the international and North Island competitors returning.’’
Committee member Patsy Shirley said another reason there were good entries was the weather had been fine prior to the event and shearing contractors were up to date with their work.
Mataura shearer Brett Roberts won the open shearing final and the junior final was won by Emma Martin, of Gore.
In the woolhandling, the senior final was won by Krome Elers, of Mataura.