World-champion wool-handler secures national titles

By Regan Paranihi

World champion wool-handler Joel Henare successfully secured the national longwool title at the Northern Southland Community Shears on Saturday 20 January.

He has won 10 finals since claiming his second World title at the 40th anniversary World Shearing and Wool-handling Championships in Invercargill last February.

Six of the finals he competed in was in New Zealand this season as well as gaining a title at the Bendigo Shears in Australia last September.

He’s from Gisborne but spent most of his time in Dunedin where he grew up in the wool sheds and was winning Open-class competitions before he was 15.

He said being back at the competition reminded him of his first win, as a 12-year-old competing in the Junior class of 2005, however, he’s now put the sheds behind him and is focusing more on his priorities, which is his family.

Despite the career change from the wool sheds to the fish sheds Henare says, “I love the new challenge.”

He also says, “The (fish shed) hours are good for my kids, life’s about them now so I have to prioritise.”

The shears were the first leg of a weekend double in Southland, with the National Crossbred Lambs Shearing and Wool-handling Championships at Winton A & P, and Shearing Championships at Kaikohe, Wairoa and Takaka, and Levin.