Shear guts

  • South Island

Despite Kiwi women being the first in the world to get the vote, it's still rare to see a wahine behind the shears in the shearing shed.

Champion wool handler and shearer Pagan Karauria is a trophy-winning trailblazer in the world of shearing.

Yet it's amazing the Alexandra woman can shear at all after a devastating car accident nearly ended her career.

A decade ago she was driving a group of Central Otago shearers to work when her vehicle rolled.

Two shearers died and Pagan herself received major injuries that took five years of rehabilitation.  A lot of counselling assisted her emotional healing and her spirit stayed strong.

A decade on, she made the finals of the prestigious Golden Shears competition, where there is no women’s section- so she competes against the men.

She is also a top wool handler and was recently awarded the title Master Wool Handler, one of only 23 in the world.

Karauria won the Open Wool Handling competition at the New Zealand Merino Championships  for the third time in four years. 

Pagan features in a new documentary titled She Shears, in cinemas this week.