Watch NZH Local Focus: Taranaki shears competition features poignant moment

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By Sieska Verdonk

Taranaki's annual shearing competition, held in Stratford, featured present and past world champions.

"You gotta work harder in the shed than anyone else, it's not just shearing sheep, you're out running every night or going to the gym. Whatever it takes to be the best," says Paul Avery, Taranaki Shears president.

While speed was obviously of the essence, judges were also looking at quality.

"It's just every man putting his skills on the board, and the best man wins on the day, " says Mr Avery.

It's not just how the fleece comes off, with separate categories for wool handling.

In a poignant moment, the Michael Herlihy Memorial Trophy was awarded in honour of a shearer who died in a suspected suicide last year.

"All the boys had done a bit of show shearing, but Michael loved it. So we thought we would get a trophy made up," says John Herlihy, Michael's father.

In it's 32nd year, the event is as popular now as it ever has been, and is one of the more popular shearing events on the rural calendar.

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