[13 March/Radio NZ]

World Champion Sheep Shearer, John Kirkpatrick, was worried about the future of shearing as both a profession and as a sport. Mr Kirkpatrick has won 149 open finals over his career, including the Golden Shares four times and the world championship last year. He was worried that there weren’t enough younger people taking up the sport and said that the future of shearing could struggle to have new people take it on. He noted that most school leavers aren’t shearing unless they’ve come off farms and need to learn to shear for when they take over the farm in the future. Mr Kirkpatrick added most shearers want to go to Australia as the money is better over there, and said that we need to look after the ones that are in New Zealand and give them something to strive for. He likened it to being a kid wanting to be an All Black.