New doco shows female shearers rising to the top

Competitive sheep shearing requires true grit and mental resilience to earn a spot in the world’s top shearing event – the lauded Golden Shears competition.

She Shears, a film debuting at the New Zealand International Film Festival, follows three female shearers in their quest for glory at the Golden Shears.

Waikato-based Emily Welch, who’s featured in the documentary, joined Rural Exchange to discuss her rise to the top of her sport.

In 2007, Ms Welch came in second place at the Golden Shears – which is the highest a woman had ever achieved at the time. She later set a record at a women’s nine-hour lamb shearing competition, where she completed 648 lambs. She broke the record by 107 sheep.

But becoming a top female shearer certainly had its challenges.

While her male shearer counterparts use brute strength to hold onto sheep, Ms Welch explains that she had to learn footwork and technical skills to improve her shearing.

“And that’s what women have to do – they have to do it technically right.”

Ms Welch told RadioLIVE that she hopes that She Shears breaks the stereotype that shearing is a men’s sport.

“Women can be shearers, and quite competent shearers,” she said.

The world premiere of She Shears showcases at Auckland's ASB Waterfront Theatre on Wednesday, August 1 - brought to you by the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF).

 

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service.