Puha takes second Golden Shears title

Manawatu teenager Connor Puha has won his second Golden Shears title in a controversial aftermath to the Intermediate shearing final in Masterton today.

The 18-year-old Puha, who won the Novice final in 2014 and fourth in the Junior final in both 2015 and last year, was initially placed third in the presentation after today's final, when the winning ribbon was presented to Winton shearer Brandon Maguire Ratima.

A mistake in the information on which calculations was based was noticed almost immediately, and Puha was named the winner later in the afternoon.

A disappointed Maguire Ratima was then placed second and the initial runner-up, Laura Bradley, of Woodville, third, in a six-person final of eight sheep each.

Puha, a former Feilding High School pupil who has been shearing fulltime for over a year, including several months late last year based in Dubbo, NSW, was the first to finish in 12min 4.056sec in a close battle for time honours with Australian shearer Tom Brewer. Maguire Ratima was more than 50 seconds back and had the best shearing points on the board, but he and Puha had the same quality points in pen judging, an overall equation that gave Puha the win by just over one-and-a-half points.

Puha had been in good form leading into the Shears, with wins at Taumarunui and home show Apiti and a second place at the Pahiatua Shears in successive days on the Friday-Sunday before heading to Masterton.

He was still travelling today, heading to the Homegrown Music Festival in Wellington as the shearing fraternity in Masterton awaited the big events including the Golden Shears Open and a shearing test between New Zealand and Australia.


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