Episode 2 - Farming
About the show
New Zealand’s unique landscape, rich soils and original thinking has made farming the backbone of the economy. Our clever innovation was born of necessity, and to this day continues to make waves on the world stage.
First to arrive were pigs – an important part of the Māori hākari, or feast – and Māori quickly adopted raising animals as part of their lifestyle. Early farmers found it tough, the land was hilly and covered in native bush, and the settlers had to do the backbreaking work of clearing and planting by hand; then when they got livestock on their property, they had diseases like footrot to contend with.
Despite the challenges, farmers are amongst our most ingenious thinkers: the rotary milking shed, penning in animals with the portable electric fence, fertilising inaccessible areas from the air, and even the humble pound of butter are all New Zealand inventions. Today, in an age without government protection, farmers are coming up with diverse ways of earning an income: wool, deer velvet, honey, and even tourism help to keep farms ticking over.