World sheep shearing record bid shines a light on suicide prevention

Warning: This article discusses suicide. 

An attempt to break one of the oldest records in New Zealand shearing will also spotlight the issue of suicide prevention.

Prolific shearing record-breaker Stacey Te Huia is to try to break a rare merino wethers record in Central Otago in December.

The attempt will also double as a fundraiser for suicide awareness programmes, as a special tribute to Te Huia's daughter Shaylyn, who died at the age of 16 in 2015.

The event will be supported by the Tribal Nations Motorcycle Club, which was formed in 2014 to spread awareness about all forms of violence and suicide.

Te Huia has ridden on several of the Tribal Nations rides and others it supports and says he's appalled by the statistics for suicide in New Zealand, especially among teenagers.

"Six or seven hundred a year, that's wrong," he said.

"Not enough is being done to prevent it."

Stacey Te Huia will attempt a world sheep shearing record on December 7th.
Stacey Te Huia will attempt a world sheep shearing record on December 7th. Photo credit: Supplied

The target on the shearing board will be the record of 418 shorn by Rakaia shearer Grant Smith on November 4, 1999, one of the oldest records on the books of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.

Te Huia is expected to shear more than 1.7 tonnes of wool if he's successful in the solo nine-hour fine wool wethers record bid on December 7, at The Bend, about 10km from Ranfurly.

In what is regarded as possibly the toughest of the record categories, sheep are required to average at least 4kg of wool each, as tested in a pre-record sample shear before a four-man Australasian judging panel appointed by the society.

It will be the first of five shearing record bids in New Zealand and Australia during the summer.


Where to find help and support: