Shear toil to seize world record

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Far North shearer Matthew Smith has broken the world ewe shearing record by shearing 578 sheep in eight hours.

The previous record of 560 was achieved by Southland shearer Jimmy Clark two years ago.

Smith, a 25-year-old from Ruawai, in Northland, sheared 149 ewes in the first two hours and 143 for each of the remaining three two-hour blocks.

He was unable to comment after his record-breaking effort because he had to undergo lactic acid replenishment treatment for physical exertion.The record was broken in a remote shed at Waitara Station, near Te Pohue, between Napier and Taupo yesterday. Smith's marathon effort ended at 4pm.

Chief judge Peter Black said the quality of Smith's shearing got better as the day progressed.

The World Sheep Shearing Records Society requires a minimum average weight of 3 kilograms per ewe fleece.

Smith's average fleece weight totalled 3.1kg for the 578 sheep shorn, Mr Black said.

Just one sheep was rejected during the day from the tally because of poor quality.

In 2006 Smith was a surprise winner of the Golden Shears Open Plate competition, contested by the six shearers who failed to make the final.
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