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