200 Year NZ Anniversary: ‘God Speed the Plough’

May 3rd — The agricultural plough was for the first time put into the land of New Zealand at Kiddeekiddee [Kerikeri], and I felt much pleasure in holding it after a team of six bullocks brought down by [ship] the Dromedary.

I trust that this day will be remembered with gratitude, and its anniversary kept by ages yet unborn. Each heart rejoiced in this auspicious day, and said, ‘May God speed the plough’

Rev. John Butler, Kerikeri, 1920

Yesterday was the Bicentennial of the first use of a plough on New Zealand soil after centuries of working the land by hand. Though the plough used that day was primitive, the event marks the beginning of mechanised cultivation which has led to a $5.8 billion dollars a month export industry 200 years later.

The speed of the plough allowed 2 hectares of land to be sown with wheat in the space of a few days, Reverend Butler’s diary shows.

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