Champion woolhandler Joel Henare to retire

CHAMPION AGAIN: Gisborne world champion woolhander Joel Henare says it’s time to give more time to sons Keanu, 5, Hikurangi, 4, and Lee, 3. He is pictured in action. Picture by Barbara Newton

World champion woolhandler Joel Henare is signalling a retirement from top competition.

Mr Henare has been competing in West Australia with the New Zealand team for the transtasman woolhandling and machine and blade shearing tests at the Royal Perth Show.

It was a surprise Australian woolhandling 2-1 win in the transtasman shearing sports tests at the show.

It was the 10th win for Australia in the 40 woolhandling tests and 20 years since woolhandling was added to the transtasman series in 1998.

Mr Henare and 2008 world champion Sheree Alabaster were favoured to give New Zealand its sixth win in a row since Australia last won at Masterton in 2015.

Australian world championship pairing Mel Morris and Sophie Huf took the win by just 1.9pts.

Mr Henare has been one of the world’s top woolhandlers for more than a decade, despite not turning 27 until next month.

He said it’s time to give more time to sons Keanu, 5, Hikurangi, 4, and Lee, 3.

Originally from Gisborne, Mr Henare grew up in the woolsheds of Central Otago and now lives in Motueka.

He says he will spend some time in the summer trying to win the right to defend his world title at the 2019 World Championships in France in a likely swansong next July.

“This will be my last time in a New Zealand transtasman test team,” he said.

“I have new commitments with my boys.”

It’s been a stellar career for Mr Henare who had his first open-class woolhandling win at the age of 15, and whose record of now over 100 wins includes four world titles, world championships individual and teams titles in 2012 and 2017.

It also includes a record six consecutive Golden Shears open titles, and four wins in the New Zealand Championships open final. He’s also had eight wins in the Otago Shears’ New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year final, the first five in a row before he’d turned 21.

“I’ve met a lot of great people in my short career,” he said — oblivious to the fact that he has been competing, “hard-out” (as the saying goes), for more than 14 years.

This began in the 2004-2005 season when he won a New Zealand junior title at the age of 13.

“They’ve all helped me to be the person I am today and I thank them all 100 percent.”

World champion woolhandler Joel Henare is signalling a retirement from top competition.

Mr Henare has been competing in West Australia with the New Zealand team for the transtasman woolhandling and machine and blade shearing tests at the Royal Perth Show.

It was a surprise Australian woolhandling 2-1 win in the transtasman shearing sports tests at the show.

It was the 10th win for Australia in the 40 woolhandling tests and 20 years since woolhandling was added to the transtasman series in 1998.

Mr Henare and 2008 world champion Sheree Alabaster were favoured to give New Zealand its sixth win in a row since Australia last won at Masterton in 2015.

Australian world championship pairing Mel Morris and Sophie Huf took the win by just 1.9pts.

Mr Henare has been one of the world’s top woolhandlers for more than a decade, despite not turning 27 until next month.

He said it’s time to give more time to sons Keanu, 5, Hikurangi, 4, and Lee, 3.

Originally from Gisborne, Mr Henare grew up in the woolsheds of Central Otago and now lives in Motueka.

He says he will spend some time in the summer trying to win the right to defend his world title at the 2019 World Championships in France in a likely swansong next July.

“This will be my last time in a New Zealand transtasman test team,” he said.

“I have new commitments with my boys.”

It’s been a stellar career for Mr Henare who had his first open-class woolhandling win at the age of 15, and whose record of now over 100 wins includes four world titles, world championships individual and teams titles in 2012 and 2017.

It also includes a record six consecutive Golden Shears open titles, and four wins in the New Zealand Championships open final. He’s also had eight wins in the Otago Shears’ New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year final, the first five in a row before he’d turned 21.

“I’ve met a lot of great people in my short career,” he said — oblivious to the fact that he has been competing, “hard-out” (as the saying goes), for more than 14 years.

This began in the 2004-2005 season when he won a New Zealand junior title at the age of 13.

“They’ve all helped me to be the person I am today and I thank them all 100 percent.”

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