Newest Master Woolhandler Pagan Karauria got Golden Shears week off to a big start when she won the Pre-Shears Wairarapa Open Championship yesterday.
Among the vanquished in the final at the one-day championships at Massey University's Riverside Farm at Mikimiki, north of Masterton, was reigning Golden Shears and World Champion Joel Henare.
While enjoying the typical strong friendship common among the competitors they're now pitched into near war as they chase the big gold at the 59th Golden Shears which started in Masterton today and end on Saturday.
Karauria, acclaimed a Master Woolhandler in August last year, of Alexandra and daughter of three-times Golden Shears Open woolhandling winner Tina Rimene, from Masterton, will be shooting for her first Golden Shears Open title while Henare will be going for a 6th in a row.
In a separate eight-competitor showdown Karauria will be trying to win hire first place at the World Championships, while Henare, from Gisborne, will be trying to win a place for the championships in France to defend the title to win a third individual World title, and defend the title he won in Invercargill in 2017.
In the shadow of Henare throughout her 13-season Open-class career, the 30-year-old Karauria yesterday claimed her 20th Open title in New Zealand, while Henare has won more than 100 finals.
The runner-up yesterday was Keryn Herbert, from Te Awamutu and another strong Golden Shears prospect, while Henare had to settle for 4th place, pipped for third place by Masterton woolhandler Samantha Gordon, one of eight Gordon family members who will be competing at the Golden Shears.
Former World champion and eight times New Zealand Shears Open champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, just missed a place in the final of the event, which attracted 29 of the day's 61 competitors across the three grades.
The championships provided the first Senior win for Gisborne competitor Tramon Campbell, while in-form Southland woolhandler Krome Elers, of Mataura, won the Junior final.