Yesterday’s news had a headline about an Irish sheep shearer named Ivan Scott who was trying to break a Kiwi’s world record for sheep shearing. He won by 1 lamb which is amazing since he sheared 867 lambs in one day! And, while he is from Ireland, the fact that he is living in NZ during the shearing season tells you something.
Sheep shearing is hard work though and not for the faint of heart. The base rate per 100 sheep in New Zealand is something like $105. It’s a good payout if you’re quick but tough work! If you want to see shearing in action then the best place I know of (besides someone’s actual farm) is a place called Sheep World north of Auckland.
We stumbled upon Sheep World accidentally the first time we went — during a drive up the North Island. We were lucky and caught the show timing (call ahead and check show times before you go). I had only been living in NZ for a couple of months at the time and rolled my eyes when my partner wanted to go but went anyway.
I was pleasantly surprised and had a great time. They do a good demonstration of how to shear a sheep but they also show you how they work the dogs and how it all ties in together. And the shop has lots of reasonably priced (compared to the tourist shops) wool to buy.
Note that during the show they ask for volunteers for shearing the sheep and sorting them. When we bring guests for the first time we sometimes chat with the show person to make sure they pick on our guests :-). After the show you can walk around the grounds and they sell food for the animals in the gift shop.