22 Mar 2012

Wool handler lauded for international achievement

6:02 am on 22 March 2012

The mentor of Joel Henare, the youngest person ever to top the World Wool Handling rankings, says he has a huge amount of talent for someone so young.

The 20-year-old from Dannevirke, who has been competing since the age of 12, also holds the title of New Zealand woolhandler of the Year, which he won last month for the fifth consecutive year.

Joanne Kumeroa of Whanganui iwi, who edged out Joel Henare to win the open woohandling final at the Golden Shears competitions in Masterton this month, says she's been mentoring him for five years.

Ms Kumeroa says he is a very confident and articulate young man who seems to be coping with his success very well.

She says she admires him because most people would be overwhelmed and clam up, and hopes she's been a good influence for him.

Ms Kumeroa says she started in the industry as a teenager with Joel Henare's mother Greta in Balclutha, and there's been a close bond with the Henare whanau ever since.