The launch of The Southern Series (TSS) elite shearing competition circuit marks progress in advocating for wool carpets in public buildings. The series aims to elevate the global profile of wool, especially strongwools constituting 85% of NZ's wool.
Following a successful trial at the 2022 NZ Corriedale Championships, the 2023 three-show circuit extends the global shearing competition to Australia, the British Isles, Europe, Canada, and the United States.
Southern Series Content Manager Michael Mehaffy told REX host Dominic George that their aim is to promote wool appreciation through a series of repeatable events, focusing on wool carpets as an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic carpets.
"Well, we've looked at this and thought well, the wool industry, which is something we're all passionate about, really needs a repeatable reason to tell its stories," he said.
Mahaffey explained how competitive shearing events, which resonate strongly with the New Zealand audience, could be integrated with the Southern Series to promote the wool narrative globally. The concept is to create a sports tour with repeatable events to tell the wool story repeatedly, promoting its virtues and benefits.
Starting in Waimate on October 6th-7th and culminating in Christchurch on November 17th, TSS promotes wool's lower carbon footprint and biodegradability, advocating for its use in NZ public spaces against synthetic alternatives.
Discussing the need for global exposure, Mahaffey shared his plans to engage broadcasters and producers around the world.
"There's an audience out there that's absolutely fascinated by athletics and broadcast by athletes."
Along with live streaming, the Southern Series also plans to release magazine-style content featuring highlights and background stories from the competition. This approach, according to Mahaffey, will cover two bases - promoting the athletes and their skills, and the story of wool.
The Southern Series Elite Sharing Competition Circuit is not just a sports event; it's a strategic move to strengthen New Zealand's wool promotion. The initiative combines the excitement of competitive shearing with a crucial eco-friendly message, pushing the wool narrative to a global audience.
"We're not going to create the complete solution, but we can be part of that part of the puzzle, part of the solution to pushing that message."
The Southern Series has the potential to be an engaging platform that champions wool, and its impact will be keenly observed in the months to come. The wool industry in New Zealand, and indeed globally, may be on the cusp of a revitalizing transformation.
Listen to the full chat between The Southern Series Content Manager Michael Mehaffey and Dominic George above.