The Waimarino Shears is the first shearing competition to develop a Māori language strategy to help with pronouncing competitors' names and towns correctly.
Waimarino Shear committee member Elijah Pue says the concept of the Māori language strategy is based on Māori making up a large proportion of the shearing industry.
“We wanted to make some changes in the competition by implementing a reo Māori strategy component into the shearing world and in our Waimarino shearing comp.”
“This will now be a new space to learn and also teach competitors and spectators the language.”
Although this is only the beginning, it has already made an impact on major competitions nationwide.
Pue is calling on major championships such as the New Zealand Shearing Championships (NZSC) in Te Kuiti to follow suit, a sentiment that appears to have resonated with the organisers.
“I'm really excited about the reo strategy being rolled out right across all of the shows and I think we needed one or two shows to actually take that first step,” NZSC secretary Erana Stevens says.
“People can't even say their names correctly. I think it's a distraction for them and a real sense of hōhā.”