Episode 10: Shear Hard Slog
Episode 10, Shear Hard Slog
Emily Welch is one of those extraordinary women Country Calendar so often finds in rural communities.
She has a young family, is a partner in two businesses with her husband Sam and makes time to help her parents in yet another venture.
Emily and Sam run a successful sheep stud and a shearing business which employs up to 25 workers at the height of the season.
They are both expert shearers - Emily gained a world record for shearing lambs over nine hours in 2007 and Sam broke a two-stand world record with Stacey Te Huia in early 2012, for shearing ewes over nine hours.
Emily was brought up on a coastal sheep farm at Waikaretu, just south of Port Waikato. After studying for a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, she came home to pursue her interests in shearing and farming.
Her father, farmer and shearer Phillip Woodward, encouraged her to enter shearing competitions and that's where she met Sam, who's equally passionate about shearing.
Aside from their shearing business which they own with another couple, Emily and long-time family friend Kate Broadbent are in charge of a Coopworth sheep stud that used to belong to Emily's uncle.
Emily leases her parents' farm and runs the stud there with excellent results - recently, Nikau Stud received big prices for its rams at Tuakau saleyards.
On top of all this, Emily's parents, Phillip and Anne, have opened a café at Waikaretu and offer tours of the remarkable Nikau Cave that runs beneath their property. The cave has glow worms and a cathedral cavern.
The tourism venture supplements their farm income and provides job opportunities for their five children and a growing number of grandchildren.
Running a number of family businesses is made possible by a system of 'give and take'. Emily's family helps mind her two small children and she reciprocates when needed, usually as a waitress and tour guide.
In the evenings, when she and Sam are not on the phone juggling employees for their gangs, Emily is often preparing food for their shearers.
Emily says, "My mother believes children are raised by a village and that's how I can do all the things that I manage to do."
To find out more, www.nikaucoopworth.co.nz or www.nikaucave.co.nz
For more on Emily Welch winning her shearing world record, www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvpL8JINZkk
To contact Clayton-Greene and Welch Shearing, email email@example.com