NZ team confirmed for World Butchers’ Challenge

NZ team confirmed for World Butchers’ Challenge

Six of the country’s finest butchers have been named as part of New Zealand’s national butchery team – the Hellers Sharp Blacks – and will compete at the World Butchers’ Challenge, which takes place in Paris in March 2025.

The team, who secured the bronze medal at the last World Butchers’ Challenge in 2022, has a similar feel with Riki Kerekere once again named as team captain, along with returning members Reuben Sharples from Aussie Butcher New Lynn, Dan Klink from Mangawhai Meat Shop, Corey White from Skills4Work, Luka Young from PAK’nSAVE Kaitaia, and Cherise Redden from PAK’nSAVE Glen Innes.

There will be new blood in the team with Samantha Weller from New World Ravenswood joining the team as a reserve. Samantha comes with winning form, having taken out the title of World Champion Butcher Apprentice at the competition in 2018.

Kerekere says, “It was a difficult selection process as we were spoilt for choice with a long list of incredible applicants. Ultimately, the selection committee has stuck with the same team with the exciting addition of Samantha as our reserve. We’re battle-hardened from the last competition and we know what we need to do as a team to get from third to first. Make no mistake, we’re there to win and we’ll be preparing accordingly.”

The team announcement comes one year after the Hellers Sharp Blacks proudly secured the bronze medal in last year’s competition in Sacramento, USA.

Dubbed by many as the ‘Olympics of Meat’, the ninth World Butchers’ Challenge will fittingly take place at Paris Arena Sud 6, part of the impressive Paris Expo Exhibition Centre, currently preparing to welcome the world’s best handball and weightlifting athletes for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The 2025 World Butchers’ Challenge is expected to grow to 18 competing teams, up from the 13 nations represented in Sacramento last year. Each national team of six members will have three hours and thirty minutes to artistically craft a themed display of value-added cuts, using a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb, and five chickens.

The Hellers Sharp Blacks squad is made up of the following members:

•             Riki Kerekere (Team Captain, Product Developer) – Hellers, Auckland

•             Reuben Sharples (Boning and Trimming) – Aussie Butcher New Lynn, Auckland

•             Dan Klink (Boning and Trimming) – Mangawhai Meat Shop, Northland

•             Corey White (Product Developer) – Skills4Work, Auckland

•             Luka Young (Product Developer) – PAK’nSAVE Kaitaia, Northland

•             Cherise Redden (Garnish and Display) – PAK’nSAVE Glen Innes, Auckland

•             Samantha Weller (Reserve) – New World Ravenswood, Christchurch

The Hellers Sharp Blacks are sponsored by Hellers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, New Zealand Pork, Victory Knives and Rum and Que.

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