New Zealand’s butchery team, The Pure South Sharp Blacks, just missed out on being crowned world champions yesterday after finishing runners-up at the World Butchers’ Challenge in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Team Ireland, the host nation took the top spot in a tense battle of the butchers with the Aussies – the Australian Steelers – finishing third… to the delight of many this side of the ditch.

Corey Winder, Pure South Sharp Blacks captain has been a member of the Kiwi team since its inception in 2011.

“We’re ecstatic. We were pushed right to the wire – the pressure was huge. We have worked extremely hard to get here – we all have our day jobs to focus on, so we have to be dedicated and give up our weekends for training to get to this position. But a result like this makes it all worth it – I’m so proud of all the Pure South Sharp Blacks.

“This competition keeps growing internationally which is huge for butchers in New Zealand. We’re on the map as being amongst the best,” says Winder.

Joining Corey were returning team members, Greg Egerton from The Mad Butcher in Dunedin and Hannah Miller Childs from A Lady Butcher in Auckland. The three were joined by newcomers, Jeremy Garth from New World Ferry Road in Christchurch, Zak Grammer from New World Eastridge in Auckland and Hohepa Smith, who currently works in Australia but has been travelling back to train with his team.

The impressive international cutting showdown – which was the brainchild of Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Rod Slater – saw the twelve competing nations, each with six team members, turn a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens into a themed display of value-added cuts in just three hours and fifteen minutes.

Team Ireland captain, Garrett Landers led the home side to victory in what was their first appearance in the World Butchers’ Challenge.

“We have been training for the World Butchers’ Challenge for almost 18 months, and to win on our first attempt is just incredible. The standard from the other countries was first-class, and we’re beyond delighted to have won the award, here in Belfast – the first time that the World Butchers’ Challenge has ever been held here.

“We’re hoping that this accolade will help to spread the word of the world-class quality of Irish and Northern Irish produce across the globe,” says Landers.

The Pure South Sharp Blacks are proudly sponsored by Pure South, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, New Zealand Pork and Argus. The team were joined by the ANZCO Foods Young Butchers of New Zealand who travelled over to compete in the World Butchers’ Young Butcher and Apprentice Competition. The results were as follows:


Samantha Weller from New World Rangiora Christchurch has been crowned World Champion Apprentice Butcher after coming first at the competition held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

Samantha travelled to Belfast to compete in the cutting test where she and her ten competitors from five countries (all of whom are still enrolled in apprenticeship training) had just two hours to turn a beef rump on the bone, a side of lamb and a loin of pork belly into a display of value added cuts – much like what you would expect to see in a butcher shop or supermarket.

Brian McNamee from Ireland finished a close second, with Victor Dumas from France rounding out the top three placings.

Following in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi and current Pure South Sharp Black, Hohepa Smith who won the World Champion Apprentice Butcher title in 2016, Samantha was delighted with her victory.

“I couldn’t be prouder, it was an amazing feeling representing New Zealand. The competition was really tough and there were some fantastic displays from the other competitors, so I couldn’t believe it when I won.

“My game plan was to keep things simple and focus on what I do best so I could present the judges with a display that showed my skills along with some individual flare.

“This is a huge achievement for me and the start of something big! New Zealand is a great place to learn your trade if you want to become a butcher and I would encourage any young Kiwi to consider it as a career path” added Weller.

Three other young butchers also joined Samantha in Belfast, together they form the ANZCO Young Butchers of New Zealand team. Samantha is travelling back to New Zealand next week, where she will be returning to New World Rangiora.


Luka Young from New World Eastridge claimed third in the World Young Butcher Competition – an under 30-years-old contest – which took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Young was narrowly beaten by two Frenchmen, Thomas Guyomar and Godefroy Piaton who were crowned champion and runner-up respectively.

Also travelling as part of the ANZCO Young Butchers of New Zealand team, Luka’s competition followed the same format as Samantha Weller’s, breaking down a beef rump on the bone, a side of lamb and a loin of pork belly into a display of value-added cuts in just two hours. However, he was up against twelve butchers from ten competing countries.

“I’ve been working as a butcher since I left school, when I first started I never thought it would take me all the way to Belfast. It was a tough competition and the nerves were high. I am so stoked to come out in third place.

“It’s been an incredible experience being here, I’ve met butchers from all around the world who all have the same passion for our industry. It’s amazing to share experiences and learn about different cultures,” says Young.