Sheree Taylor didn’t just chop wood – she cut a whole new path for the sport.
Sheree Taylor was a self-described sports addict. For years she played netball and basketball at a high level, until all of that suddenly came to an end they day she tore her achilles tendon, and her surgeon advised her not to continue on with those sports.
Her husband, Alistair, had been a competitive axeman for years. One day she had a play around with his axes, and he saw the potential straight away. That day, a woodchopping legend was born.
Taylor went to the world championships in America in 1995, after training for only five months. Even though she was sick, literally spending most of the competition in the medic’s room, she went on to win. It would be the first of many. Taylor would go on to win over 65 national titles and 10 world championships – including two with her husband and two Sydney Royal Easter Show wins – and she has no intention of retiring anytime soon.
You can’t overstate Taylor’s importance to the sport of woodchopping in New Zealand. When she started, she was the only woman competing in the country. Even though the sport was male-dominated, to the point that one competitor threatened to pull out simply because she’d entered an event, she never let it phase her. She kept forging ahead.
She’s never stopped being a legend to those who follow her, mentoring new woodchoppers and starting the New Zealand women’s team. The more she competed, the more she cut a path for other women to compete, forging an entirely new road for the sport – one log at a time.
Watch the full series of Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends now. Made with support from NZ On Air.