Sheep go on rampage through Te Kuiti

Te Kuiti's annual 'Sheep Run' is often compared to the famous 'Running of the Bulls' in Spain.

Today the comparison was more appropriate than ever as the sheep got free and ran through the town, causing chaos in the crowd and leaving one woman dazed after she was knocked over.

The day started well enough with shearing in the town's cultural centre and a visit by the country's most unlikely sheep musterer, Prime Minister John Key.

"Don't stand in front of it, anything can happen," says Mr Key.

And shortly after, anything did happen. 

The first woolly breach came just a few hundred metres from the starting line. That was quickly contained, but the mob's next probe was not. 

What started as a trickle rapidly became a flood, and with the barrier down Te Kuiti's Sheep Run began to look very much like its Spanish counterpart.

A woman was bowled over by the marauding mob, her injuries no laughing matter. She was knocked over, losing consciousness.

A short distance away things were going from bad to worse. Musterers and the odd 3 News reporter tried to stem the flow, but the sheep were not for the turning.

All semblance of order completely broke down, the sheep crossing the main road and the train tracks heading into the hills.

Then it was all over, but the earlier chaos did have organisers concerned.

"Every now and then people will get hurt," says John Fagan. "We're sorry if someone has got hurt, but obviously we do our best to see they don't."

Mr Fagan says the sheep run will be back next year, but lessons have been learnt.

"We plan to have the street wider at that end so the gap down the middle of the street is more inviting for the sheep to run down."

It had better be pretty wide. The wild sheep of the King Country seem to have no intention of becoming townies.

3 News

source: newshub archive