Voice of Shearing falls silent

By Te Ao - Māori News

World Renowned Dannevirke shearing legend Koro Mullins has passed away.

Koropiko Tumatahi Mullins died suddenly yesterday aged 65.  One of Aoteroa’s greatest shearers, he and his wife Mavis ran their shearing business Paewai-Mullins Shearing for over 30 years before handing over the run to their daughter Aria. 

Koro Mullins in France during the Golden Shears World shearing and wool-handing championships in July. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

While his voice has become iconic in recent years commentating the Golden Shears live-stream, which attracted tens of thousands of viewers in Aotearoa and around the world, Mullins was himself a Golden Shears Open shearing finalist in 1993, competing against legendary NZ shearer David Fagan.

As a Shearing Sports commentator, Mullins took particular interest in ensuring shearers names were pronounced correctly especially Māori names. Fellow shearer and commentator Huw Condron, of Wales said in a statement to Shearing Sports NZ, it was a passion they both shared equally, and ensured that both Māori and Welsh names were broadcast with "accuracy and respect" well the pair commentated various World Championship events throughout the past decade.

Shearing Sports New Zealand chair, Sir David Fagan, said in a statement today the industry and sport worldwide is “rocked” by news of the tragedy. He said Mr Mullins was involved in every aspect, and had set the standard for shearing commentary worldwide, and would be missed by everyone.

Paewai-Mullins Shearing became the stars of a Māori Television show, Shear Bro, which followed the many shearing gangs the 4th-generation family business employed, many of whom were Māori. Koro Mullins said the reason so many Māori are in shearing is that its whānau orientated work. “In the old days they moved in groups and went and camped on the farm and stayed there in their tents by the river. They shore together and it just evolved from there.”

Mullins also served the community of Dannevirke as a councillor on the Tararua District Council, and was the National party candidate for the Wairarapa seat for a short while in 2002.

Koro Mullins was born in Rotorua and is survived by his wife, sons Punga and Tuma, daughters Korina and Aria, and 14 grandchildren.

Tangi details are yet to be confirmed.