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Hard work pays for Golden Shears hopeful

One of the many tireless workers and competitors during the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championship in Invercargill earlier this month has been rewarded with a big win on the eve of the 57th Golden Shears.

The three-day Golden Shears start in Masterton today (Thursday), Alexandra woolhandler Pagan Karauria heading north with the dream of winning Golden Shears Open title for the first time on Saturday night.

She got an early shot in the arm tyesterday when she beat World Champion and defending Golden Shears Open champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, to win the Pre-Shears Open Woolhandling Championship in Massey University's Riverside Farm woolshed at Mikimiki, just north of Masterton.

Despite having just missed selection in the New Zealand team for the World event in Invercargill, Karauria returned home from a base in Australia to manager the championships' working woolhandling team as well finish second to Henare in the associated Southland All-Nations Open Woolhandling Championships and sixth in the All Nations Senior shearing final.

Yesterday saw a demanding contest across the wool from 10 sheep for each of the four finalists, and Karauria said: "I'm so happy to win, across 10 sheep. It was the first time I've made the Pre-Shears final. It was a very intense final but one of the best I've been in for a while."

She said she was particularly grateful for the four-days' work provide by Dannevirke contractor Aria Mullins, and the impact it had on her endurance, and for the support shown by Henare in his moment of defeat, by a narrow margin of just over 4 points.

It was thought to have been her 13th win New Zealand, but she's also had a string of wins in Open woolhandling, senior shearing and speedshear events in Australia.

Third place today went to Amy Karaka, from Te Karaka, near Gisborne, and fourth was Monica Potae, from Milton.

Angela Stevens, daughter of new World Champion Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick, won the Senior final today, and husband Ricci Stevens won the Junior final.