Story: Farm mechanisation

An early plough (1st of 2)

New Zealand’s first plough

When this plough was given to the Old Colonists Museum in 1926 it was believed to be the first ever used in New Zealand. It was thought to have been used by John Butler to plough land at the Kerikeri Church Missionary Society mission station in 1820.  Later research has revealed that the ploughshare bears the mark AS, the initials of the Norwich maker Alfred Sparke. Sparke opened his foundry some time between 1836 and 1845. This is, however, still an early plough which would probably have been pulled by a team of bullocks.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Making New Zealand Centennial Collection (PAColl-3060)
Reference: MNZ-1592-1/2; F

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

James Watson, 'Farm mechanisation - Machines powered by humans and animals', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 October 2023)

Story by James Watson, published 24 Nov 2008