Community Contributed

Godfrey Bowen, World-Class Shearer

Kete Horowhenua2020-03-23T16:51:52+00:00

This article was printed in the 1981 75th Jubilee of Levin publication:

Sheep Brought Fame To Town

EARLY in the 1970s, Levin’s best known personalities were a mixed
batch of highly-pedigree sheep, with the amazing ability to walk up
on a stage to the cue of a commentator.

That was about all they did —apart from attract to the town thousands
of tourists who would otherwise not even have blinked as they passed

The sheep were the brainchild of world-famous shearer, Godfrey Bowen,
who lived in Levin until he moved to Waikanae last year.

They were trained by Levin residents, Mr and Mrs C.E. Bryant for the
New Zealand Stand at Expo 70 in Japan, where the demonstration of
various different breeds was a tremendous success.

After Expo 70, the idea was continued with the sheep put on display
at Mr and Mrs Bryant’s property on the Shannon Road.
Thousands of tourists stopped at Levin to visit the sheep centre.


In fact, the venture was such a great success, Levin lost it. Today
the trained sheep strut their stuff in the Agrodome at Rotorua,
where they are more accessible for overseas tourists.

But the showmanship was only one facet of Godfrey Bowen’s
achievements in the wool industry.

He set a world record on January 6, 1953, by shearing 456 full-wool
sheep in nine hours at Opiki, near Levin. Subsequently he joined
the Wool Board and trained instructors in his shearing techniques.

In 1960, the year he was appointed field director for the Wool Board,
Mr Bowen took another world record with 559 Welsh mountain sheep
in nine hours. He wrote an instruction book, “Wool Away” and toured
the world demonstrating and training instructors in the USSR, Japan,
South America, the USA, and Britain.

Levin people & their town feature prominently in a film documentary on a day in the life of Godfrey Bowen.

From left:

Film producer, Mr Pitera,
Mr N. Vertongen,
Miss Delwyn Bowen
& Mr & Mrs Bowen.

Tues. May 4, 1971.