BEN ANDREWS PIJF cadet reporter [email protected]
A six-person team is taking the passion of the Pacific Islands to the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, in Scotland.
Shearers Jimmy-Joe Elers and Marley Waihape, both of Mataura, and Jovan Taiki, of Australia, and wool handlers Tina and Maiden Elers, both of Mataura, and Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti, will travel to Scotland in June, to compete in the world competition at the Royal Highland Show, in Edinburgh.
Tina Elers was excited to represent the Cook Islands on the international stage.
‘‘To be able to represent our small country on such a big stage means a lot,’’ she said.
‘‘We’re going there to do our absolute best and then hope to be up at the podium.
‘‘It’s a pretty big ask, but it is doable.’’
Manager Sharon Hillis said the chance to represent the Cook Islands was motivating for everyone involved.
‘‘The team’s very passionate about representing their native country,’’ Mrs Hillis said.
‘‘It’s quite a prestigious event and the passion keeps them doing it.’’
She said the team was looking forward to the championships, which had been cancelled last year because of Covid-19.
‘‘They’re all really looking forward to getting there,’’ Mrs Hillis said.
The team was finalised at the Cook Islands Shearing and Woolhandling national show, in Gore, last month.
Before the Gore show, candidates had to complete in four different shearing shows and verify their heritage to be eligible for selection.
Mrs Hillis said the team was well-practised.
‘‘Our woolhandling team is especially experienced.’’ The team is partially self-funded and fundraising events and sponsors will help meet the remaining cost.
‘‘We do a little bit of fundraising and we’ve had a couple of sponsors, which has been awesome,’’ Mrs Hillis said.
‘‘Valley Takeaways in Mataura have been very supportive.
‘‘Bill Elers contractors gave us a shed and they [the team] went and shore sheep.’’
The team will spend a week in the United Kingdom, where Mrs Elers hopes to explore London before travelling to Edinburgh.
‘‘I hope to get a few days to look around,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve never been there before, so I’m really excited,’’ she said.
‘‘I can’t wait to see what they do different to us.’’
When they arrive in Edinburgh, the team will get straight down to business.
‘‘We do training days, a world council meeting, a meeting for competitors and a gala dinner,’’ Mrs Hillis said.
The World Championships will be held from June 22 to 25.
‘To be able to represent our small country on such a big stage means a lot.