In March the small North Island town of Masterton will host the World Shearing Championships.
The event, which attracts competitors from Britain, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and a handful of other countries, sees large numbers of fleeces shorn at frantic pace.
Many of the world's best shearers also take part in New Zealand's own national Golden Shears contest, which attracts wildly enthusiastic crowds and extensive coverage in the country's media.
Shearing contests are divided into men's and women's categories.
Both offer considerable prize money and even greater prestige.
Ms Maxwell pointed out that Irishman Ivan Scott, the current men's world record holder, gained his world eight-hour solo title after shearing 749 sheep.
Kerri-Jo Te Huia, the women's champion, smashed the previous world record by 37, shearing 507 sheep in eight hours.
Shearing is already recognised as a sport by SPARC, the government's Sport and Recreation Council, which provides grants to help run competitions.
New Zealand's human population of about 4.4 million is outnumbered by a national sheep flock of almost 40 million, with most lamb meat being exported to Britain, the Middle East and Asia.