Shearing crew helps grieving Taranaki family through tough time

  • 22/12/2017
Sheep shearing
Sheep shearing. Photo credit: iStock

Taranaki farmers have stepped in and grabbed a pair of clippers to shear 3400 sheep to help a local farming family grieving the loss of two young men just before Christmas.

Whangamomona Valley farmers Dan and Kathy Murphy are mourning the loss of son Craig Murphy and his friend, Jason Payne, after their all-terrain vehicle crashed down a hillside, when the edge of a track gave way on a nearby farm on December 9.

Not only have the family been mourning the loss, they were faced with 3400 ewes and lambs that had to be shorn in the peak of the season, as part of their livelihood.

The shearing of the sheep was to have been done within a few days of when the two young men, aged 31 and 34, died, says Mr Murphy.

A fellow farmer knew of the family's plight, and it didn't take long to assemble a crew of 40 shearers and a total of more than 100 people to get stuck into the work.

Among the shearers was former world and Golden Shears champion, and local farmer Gavin Mutch, who was "just another shearer helping out".

"It's been a bloody hard time for them, so just to see them put a smile on the face meant everything," Mr Mutch said.

Those who turned up and weren't shearing put their skills to use and even grabbed chainsaws to cut trees into firewood for the family.

Mr Murphy said the turnout was "mind-blowing" and "very humbling".