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Keeping it in the Family

It was family all the way as Team Hicks from Marton and Team Wolland from Pahiatua shaped-up in one heat of the Pairs Woolpressing competition on the first day of the 57th Golden Shears in Masterton today.

Competing together for the first time were 61-year-old John Hicks and 29-year-old schoolteacher-son Jono Hicks, while the opposition was Christine Wolland, 38, and son Tyrone Oliver a second year pupil at Makoura College in Masterton who turns 15 next week.

Among the reasons neither team had competed together before was that neither veteran shearer John Hicks nor lanky team Tyrone Oliver had competed in the sport before, apart from John Hicks' one-show sortie in a junior shearing competition many years ago.

"I shook so much I just never went back," he said, and he only competed today because Jono's usual Golden Shears teammate, brother Cam, had had to return to Australia for shearing.

John Hicks has been in the shearing industry more than 35 years, and is still shearing fulltime, with a small run of his own or otherwise for Tipu Shearing, of Huntly. He swears by it and said: "It put Jono through university."

Tyrone Oliver might have given it a go last year but his mum, who won the Golden Shears women's title in 2013, had to make a hard call.

"He was naughty, so I wouldn't let him," she said, mopping the sweat from her brow after finally realising what had been her idea and dream in the first place.

She's been in the industry about 20 years, and works for Eketahuna contractors Steve and Ngaio Hanson, while her son has been pressing during the school holidays.

Both would have a tough task ahead, also in the field being defending six-times champions and further family team, brothers Jeremy and Vinnie Goodger, of Masterton.
Above: John and Jono Hicks.
Above: Christin Wolland and son Tyrone with commentator Gerald Spain confirming wool weight at 173kg.