The 49th Golden Shears begins in Masterton on Thursday. It is one of the big events on the international shearing calendar.
First events are the novice shearing and wool handling heats.
Golden Shears president Mavis Mullins says there are strong entries in all classes of events.
She says New Zealand's reigning world shearing and wool handling champions will go into the competition as favourites.
But they will be challenged by veteran shearer Dean Ball and David Fagan, who has won the event 15 times. He is also a five-time world shearing champion.
Tests will be held between New Zealand and Wales as well as against Australia.
The event lasts three days.