Golden Shears Society president Mavis Mullins says the scale and quality of the entrants in the shearing and woolhandling events shows investment in the industry's training programmes is paying off.
More than 500 competitors are taking part in four days of competitions at the 50th annual Golden Shears event, which culminate in the grand finals on Saturday in Masterton.
Kaikoura MP Colin King claimed the victory for the Grade 1 Veterans event on Thursday, for competitors aged between 55 - 64.
The Grade 2 title, for those aged 65 years and over, went to Golden Shears 1967 intermediate champion Hugh McCarroll of Tauranga.
The Veterans woolhandling event was won by the only female competitor, Tina Duncan of Wairoa.
Mrs Mullins says many of the older generations of shearers have passed on the passion for the industry to younger members of their families, and that's part of the reason that shearing and woolhandling is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
Entries more exceed the number of sheep available at a time when the agricultural industry is said to be in the doldrums.
However, Mrs Mullins says she is concerned that some industry training programmes may suffer from a drop in investment following a decision by farmers to stop paying a wool levy to Meat & Wool New Zealand.
Champion shearer Emily Welch, who is competing in the open shearing heats on Friday afternoon, also thinks the decision to discontinue the levy is short-sighted.
She holds the woman's world record for the most lambs shorn in nine hours.