World champion Scottish shearer Gavin Mutch will have some of his biggest support from a remote New Zealand locality where the name is longer than its main street, as he defends his title at the Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing Championships in Gorey next weekend.

It was in the tiny eastern Taranaki community that more than 200 people celebrated the triumph of the local hero two years ago in the World Championships final at the Golden Shears in Masterton. Mutch is originally from the equally remote Forgue in Aberdeenshire.

Marrying local girl Pip McLellan, it’s over the last 15 years that Mutch, now 34, has become entrenched around Whangamomona making a home as a family man, farmer, shearer and shearing contractor. “The reason I started the shearing run here was to give local people work without travelling silly hours each day,” he said this week.

It brought a special reward recently, when three of his shearers – Dean Herlihy, Darren Alexander and Craig Herlihy – carried the Whangamomona name into each of the top three Intermediate placings at the Easter Show, in Auckland.

His own big win two years ago was a particularly meritorious achievement, for while Mutch had become the most successful overseas shearer based in New Zealand, he had been injured on the farm and shore the World Championships with a torn shoulder muscle.