Student Loan to thank for Golden Shears' victory

Gisborne woolhandler Aromia Ngarangione only wanted to pay off the student loan.

But the EIT graduate's return to fulltime work in woolsheds, after three years studying contemporary art, had an even better reward when she won the Golden Shears Novice woolhandling title in Masterton today.

She was pictured in the final, the first event decided on the opening day of the three-day 57th Golden Shears.

It was the first time the 24-year-old had competed in a woolhandling competition, something she decided to do after returning from working West Australia last year.

"I wanted to get out of my comfort zone," she said, after a final in which the three others were all from Masterton.

The runner-up was Geoorgia Oliver, Midz Peneha was third, and fourth place went to Secon

She works for Gisborne shearing contractors Ian and Beth Kirkpatrick, and said "I'm just trying to pay-off my student loan. It's very big."

As well as thanking the bosses she also thanked Open-class woolhandler Amy Karaka who had shown her some of the nuances of the competition scene.

She comes from a long line of shearing industry workers, including older brother Wi Poutu, who in 2010 won the Golden Shears Intermediate shearing title.

Ngarangione started in a field of 14 in the heats, and just made it into the final as fourth qualifier, a reverse of the fortunes of Shyla Karaitiana, who was top qualifier but had to settle for fourth place at the end. The runner-up was Georgia Oliver and third place went to Midz Peneha.

Ngarangione was almost part of a what would have been a unique opening-day double. Soon after her win, brother Richmond was runner-up in the Novice shearing final won by Pongaroa shepherd Mark Baxter.

More than 20 titles are being decided during the championships in Masterton's War Memorial Stadium, the venue for the annual world-leading shearing sports showpiece since it was first held in 1961, and best known for the glamour event, the Golden Shears Open final which will be shorn on Saturday night.

Results of finals on the opening day of the 57th Golden Shears International shearing and woolhandling championships being held in Masterton on March 2-4:


Golden Shears Novice final (2 sheep): Mark Baxter (Pongaroa) 5min 9.975sec, 31.999pts, 1; Richmond Ngarangione (Gisborne) 6min 11.868sec, 35.593pts, 2; Ariana Hadfield (Wairoa) 8min 1.219sec, 37.061pts, 3; Leam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 39.359pts, 4; Flynn Harvey (Kaitaia) 8min 8.954pts, 5; 40.448pts, 5; Andrew Baxter (Pongaroa) 6min 32.665sec, 42.133pts, 6.

Golden Shears Novice Woolhandling Championship final (Aromia Ngarangione (Gisborne) 46.2pts, 1; Georgia Oliverr (Masterton) 59.6pts, 2; Mize Peneha (Masterton) 73.4pts, 3; Shyla Karaitiana (Masterton) 91.4pts, 4.


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