Levelling the playing field a shearing title at a time

Shearing is ‘‘an equal playing field’’, Gore shearer Emma Martin says.

At the New Zealand Shears shearing and woolhandling championships at Te Kuiti on Friday, Ms Martin won the junior title.

The 27-year-old is only the third woman to win a New Zealand Shears title.

She enjoyed competing on equal terms against the men, Ms Martin said.

‘‘No-one’s got an advantage explicitly — we’re all the same.’’

Whether the winning shearer was male or female was irrelevant.

‘‘You’re the top of that show.

‘‘It’s not you’re the best female, you’re not the best male, you’re the best on the day.’’

Winning the male-oriented event did give her added satisfaction.

‘‘It just goes to show females can still do it.’’

She shore her five sheep in a time of 8min 3.39sec, to finish on 30.37 points.

That was nearly three points ahead of second place-getter Coby Lambert, of Raupunga, who finished about a minute faster.

Mataura’s Cody Waihape was third.

The reality of her winning the title had not really sunk in yet.

‘‘It’s definitely an achievement and it’s something we all want and all work hard for, and when it comes it takes a minute for it to sink in . . . waiting for the realisation to hit.’’

Setting goals was one way to keep herself motivated.

‘‘I want to be better [today] than I was the day before.’’

She had been disappointed with her Golden Shears final and said to a family friend she would have to remedy that by winning at Te Kuiti instead.

She had a successful season in the junior grade and was ready to move up to intermediate.

‘‘The skill level starts to increase a lot more so it poses a new challenge again and I’m quite excited for it.

‘‘I definitely wanted to be one of the top junior shearers this year and I definitely am that.’’

How far she would go up the ranks in the shearing competitions was unknown.

‘‘I’m going with the flow of it at the moment.

‘‘We all want to do as well as we can and I guess I’m no exception.

‘‘I’m trying to find the balance of enjoying the moment of it as well as always striving for the next progress level.’’

She was shearing full-time for Platinum Shearing owned by Cody Waihape sen, and started competing in 2020.

When she left school she started a law degree at Victoria University.

After a couple of years she completed a cooking course at the Southern Institute of Technology.

In her days off she worked as a woolhandler which gave her an income as she studied.

Later she learned to shear.

She had been part of the Canterbury Marlborough development circuit team and was grateful to Adaptive Health and Safety and Heiniger whose sponsorship allowed her to take part in the Te Kuiti event, she said.