In this first episode of reality series Shearing Gang, Peter Lyon — the so-called Tony Soprano of South Island shearing — pulls together his top team for a big contract at the stunning, historic Mt Nicholas sheep station. It's a tight schedule; 9000 sheep to shear in a week, with wet weather threatening to cut into work time. There's problems early on: rousie Kara is 'benched' after clashing with team senior Auntie Rangi, and Lyon and wife Elsie pay a visit to calm the waters. In steps Jade, a feisty rousie with shearing pedigree, while newbie Mel, a dance teacher from Auckland, causes a stir with her yoga mat and zen attitude.
Me and Mark Burdon, who's a well known Central Otago farmer, were having a beer one night and talking about Million Dollar Catch, which we also produce. He said if we wanted a great show with heaps of characters we should check out the shearing gangs, who he reckoned were hard out folk.– Co-creator Philip Smith on how the show began, The Southland Times, 2 February 2012
Made with funding from NZ On Air
Creator Philip Smith on the birth of the show, The Southland Times, February 2012,
Behind the scenes on season three, The Otago Daily Times, September 2014
Peter Lyon on his shearing business celebrating 33 years, The NZ Herald, February 2019
Shearing Gang series page, Great Southern Television website