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Telling the story of shearers from the 1860s to the present day, this collection brings to life the world of the shearing shed for the first time. Shearers have played a key role in New Zealand life, and this book chronicles key changes in the business?from the mechanization of shearing to the expansion of the shearing season and the shrinking of the New Zealand flock. It explores the changing culture of shearing?the way Maori whanau turned themselves into successful shearing gangs, how women entered the sheds as wool handlers and wound up as world-record shearers, and how Ivan and Godfrey Bowen professionalized the business. Delving into the heart of rural New Zealand, this compilation illuminates larger themes in New Zealand history?interactions between Maori and Pakeha, rural and urban society, change and tradition?and introduces some extraordinary New Zealanders who work as shearers today.